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Stop the Insanity! How to Get Some Sleep When You’ve Got Menopausal Insomnia
When I don’t get enough sleep, it’s not good. At first, everything seems to be going smoothly: I can wake up and be personable and ready to go in a few minutes. But a few hours later, everybody run. I’m so snappish and irritable it’s like having a discussion with a Rottweiler; you’ll get your hand torn off before you know what hit you. I just can’t function like a proactive member of society without eight hours of sleep or more. My neurons seem to only be missing connections, not making them.
 
But in these instances I have only myself to blame—I choose to stay out all night and then get up for work, or fiddle with a project long after I should have been sawing logs. For many people, and women in particular, insomnia is an unasked for punishment, and for women it’s one they undergo once they hit perimenopause. Having to suffer through a day after tossing and turning all night is just one more stressor found in the journey from matron to crone.
Erratic Adrenaline
But why should menopause impede a woman’s beauty sleep? It all has to do with progesterone and the adrenal glands. The adrenal glands use progesterone to create cortisol and adrenaline—the two chemicals that put the body into fight-or-flight mode, and generally get it rarin’ to go in exciting instances. When there is enough progesterone, i.e. before menopause, the adrenal gland by-and-large remains in a non-agitated state. However, during menopause, the ovaries start cutting progesterone production, creating a sort of progesterone “brown-out”.
 
When the adrenal gland senses that progesterone levels aren’t high enough to properly create all the byproducts it needs to, things start to go haywire. The adrenal gland can trigger a literal panic attack, or just start burning away it’s current stores of adrenaline and cortisol into a pervading sense of anxiety or stress, while it signals the ovaries for more progesterone. The signaling causes hot flashes, which make it hard to sleep anyhow, but the constant up-and-down action of adrenaline can make it sleep a flat out impossibility.
 
Just Five More Minutes...
Some women have recourse to sleeping pills, but as someone who seems especially susceptible to them, and inclined to not wake up, or wake up groggy in the morning, I researched other methods that don’t rely on pharmaceuticals. There are plenty of herbal choices that offer an easy and sound sleep, but many are too efficacious and can have the same effect as the drugs. Then I came upon an innocent flower we’re all probably familiar with: Chamomile.
 
Sunny Flower, Sleepy Head
Chamomile or, Chamaemelum nobile, is an innocuous daisy-looking flower you can see in meadows, along dirt roads, and in wildflower gardens. It has a sweet, dried grass smell to it, but within its yellow cones one finds an amazing ability. Chamomile seems to have an anxiolytic property, meaning that it calms anxiety and stops stress. It actually works on the same neural receptors as benzodiazepines, aka Xanax or Valium, but without any side effects.
 
One of the thirty-six flavanoids found in Chamomile is apigenin, and it is this chemical in particular that affects the brain, engendering a soothing, relaxed feeling throughout the mind and body. Chamomile is also an anti-inflammatory—explaining its use in many cosmetics—and an antispasmodic, making it peculiarly well adapted to restless menopausal women.
 
Make Time for Tea Time
The process of drinking a warm cup of tea has, of itself, the power to create sleepiness due to a change in the differential between inner and outer temperatures. Combine this with Chamomile’s powerful sleep-aiding abilities, and you have the perfect recipe for sweet sleep, without grogginess the next morning.
 
I drink Chamomile tea regularly before bed, as I tend to drink high amounts of caffeine during the day, and it never fails to get my eyelids drooping after the first cup. It smells like warm summer, and really puts one in a “naptime” mood—be it at 1PM or 1AM. If you’re having trouble sleeping you ought to try this simple remedy first, before rushing out for some over-the-counter pills. Such a solution might end up creating even more problems!

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Views: 157

Ideas: Women's, Menopause, sleep disorder

GuideID: 62150

Guide Type: Hot Topics

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