Experiencing menopause can be really disturbing for a host of reasons. Any number of menopausal symptoms can adversely affect a womanâ€™s psychological and physical well-being. The Mayo Clinic says that the following are the most prevalent symptoms one might experience:
â€¢ Vaginal dryness and loss of libido (sexual drive)
â€¢ Hot flashes and night sweats
â€¢ Sleep problems, including severe insomnia
â€¢ Erratic mood changes brought on by hormonal fluctuations and imbalances
â€¢ Weight gain
â€¢ Thinning hair and dry skin
â€¢ Loss of breast fullness
The most torturous symptom in many womenâ€™s eyes is the interruption of normal sleep patterns. Ask any person what their idea of a good nightâ€™s sleep is and they will tell you uninterrupted sleep. If a person is not accumulating sufficient sleep time, it can lead to problems like anxiety, depression and physical disease.
HRT May Not Be The Answer
One method of addressing major symptoms of the menopause has been the use of HRT, or Hormone Replacement Therapy. This involves replacing hormones like estrogen and progesterone being lost through the menopausal cycle.
However, according to The National Sleep Foundation, this method of relieving symptoms of the menopause can have drastically detrimental effects. Studies funded by the U.S. government, entitled The Womenâ€™s Health Initiative, had to be halted as it was found that HRT was putting women at risk of developing cardiovascular disease and dementia.
What Does The National Sleep Foundation Recommend?
While HRT reduces the effects of the menopausal symptoms, it is a very risky and increasingly contentious treatment because of the side-effects it may produce.
Instead, The National Sleep Foundation recommends coping with symptoms by taking simple, practical steps.
The ways in which you can try to avoid sleepless nights during the menopause are outlined by The National Sleep Foundation as follows:
â€¢ Eat healthy meals and avoid eating before bedtime; especially acidic or spicy foods.
â€¢ Avoid caffeine, nicotine and alcohol before bedtime.
â€¢ Avoid heavily insulated clothes and blankets in favor of lighter materials.
â€¢ Reduce stress by trying relaxation techniques, massage and exercise.
Is Yoga Not An Elitist Activity?
The latter recommendation, to reduce stress through exercise, seems straightforward. Nevertheless, you would be amazed at how many people forego exercise on a daily basis.
Yoga, while a way of life for some, is a scary prospect for others. People who have never tried yoga sometimes see it as an intense physical activity where people contort their bodies into unimaginable positions.
It is true that some master Yogis (practitioners of yoga) are able to mimic the best contortionists, but yoga can be beneficial for everyone, at any stage of physical ability.
Yoga To Combat Sleeplessness
Yoga has been practiced for thousands of years, so it cannot be accused of being the latest fad form of exercise. Its benefits are wide-reaching and long lasting.
One of the foremost benefits is its ability to help a person engage in intense relaxation. This helps oneâ€™s physical and mental well-being, and can be great for inducing a good nightâ€™s sleep.
Vigorous exercise is to be avoided at least three hours before bedtime, according to clevelandclinic.org. Yoga can be the perfect remedy as you can exercise your mind and body but not to any great stress.
Make Some Time And Get Bang For Your Buck
Common excuses for not trying yoga are that it can be time consuming and that it is too costly. However, if you are experiencing hot flashes and fitful sleeps, you should create the time to try basic yoga poses and breathing. A standard yoga exercise work out can be completed in a quarter of an hour.
As for monetary concerns, while some classes are expensive, there are a load of free resources online which can teach you basic yoga principles. However it would be better to attend at least a few classes initially to learn the basics first-hand.
So while the menopause can be a devastating experience, there are ways in which you can combat the dreaded symptom of sleeplessness. The next time you awake in the middle of the night, rather than counting sheep, get up and lay out a mat and try fifteen minutes of breathing and poses. It might just induce the type of sleep that you had been wishing for.