Sleep is vital to your overall health and wellbeing because this is the time to restore your body and mind. It rejuvenates your physical function while increasing your mental and emotional resilience. A lack of sleep in menopause disrupts the usual hormonal patterns. Consequently, cortisol levels elevate, and melatonin declines. As a result, there is an increase in stress and inflammation in your body. For your skin, this can show up as worsening of your acne, eczema, and psoriasis. And it’s not just a one-way street. A flare of eczema, for example, can lead to increased itching, which can further disrupt sleep. Talk about a vicious cycle.

What’s more is that during sleep, your skin rebalances its hydration status. It increases its capacity to retain water to keep your skin supple and moisturized. A lack of sleep interferes with a proper water balance resulting in puffiness, dryness, and visible wrinkles. Whoever came up with the term, “beauty sleep” wasn’t kidding around.

Do you have trouble winding down at night, or do you wake up feeling just as tired as when you went to bed? You’re not alone. Your hormonal shifts contribute to your sleep troubles. But doing this one thing will jumpstart your way to getting a good night’s rest. Start tonight! You’ll be excited by the difference it makes.

What’s the one thing?

Make your bedroom feel like a luxurious spa!
Do not panic! This isn’t about spending a ton on décor or renovating your room. It is about creating an environment that appeals to all of your senses. Imagine for a moment, your favorite spa. What makes it your favorite? Tune into all 5 of your senses, sight, sound, touch, smell, and taste. So, how can you incorporate that into your room? Here are five tips on how to accomplish this.

Light is the single most significant factor that regulates your circadian rhythm and the release of melatonin. Light, specifically blue light from digital devices can impact your ability to get a well-rested sleep. Hence, it should be a top priority to filter out light. So, how can you do that?
  • Add a filter to your devices like f.lux
  • Wear blue light blocking glasses
  • Eat foods rich in the carotenoids lutein and zeaxanthin like pumpkin, kale, and broccoli to protect your eyes and boost their natural ability to block out blue light
  • Make your bedroom a dark cave by using blackout curtains or wearing an eye mask.
Some sounds can be soothing whereas others can be disruptive to your sleep. Thus, block out the disruptive ones with earplugs. A white noise machine may also be helpful.

Being comfortable in bed is crucial to ensuring a good night’s rest. Therefore, choose a mattress that oozes comfort. Temperature uniquely influences sleep in menopause. Thus, when it comes to the room temperature, you want to channel your inner Goldilocks and keep the temperature just right between 65°F to 75°F. However, when hot flashes are relentless, err on the cooler side. Consequently, experiment with opening up your windows, turning on a fan, or my personal favorite is using a device called a Chilipad. This device helps me to regulate my bed temperature. Also, don’t underestimate the power of reaching out and touching someone! Even if your desire for sex isn’t revved up. Holding a hand, a hug, or gentle caress can reduce stress and releases the feel-good hormone oxytocin. Trust me, don’t overlook the benefit of touch before sleep time.

Your sense of smell is one of your most powerful. Just like sound, certain scents can work for you or against you as you try to drift off.

Perhaps open your window. Or get an air filter. An air filter will improve the quality of air and also filter out any unwanted odors. Aromatherapy also creates a soothing environment. Lavender aromatherapy is notorious for promoting rest, relaxation, and sleep. It can be used with a diffuser or applied topically. Sleep in menopause is certainly more relaxing with a dab of lavender essential oil to the bottoms of your feet. My go-to essential oils right now are the organic blends Calm and Circadian Rhythm from Vibrant Blue Oils to ease me into slumber. I am digging these because they are effective and organically sourced. Bonus, they are also made by a local Seattle mom. Always got to give some PNW love!

Eating too close to your bedtime or overstuffing your belly can make sleep in menopause more challenging. The same goes for the consumption of caffeine and alcohol. While I am a big fan of the skin cancer preventative benefits of coffee and the resveratrol in red wine, they create challenges for getting restful sleep when consumed too close to bedtime. Furthermore, they exacerbate hot flashes. With caffeine’s half-life of 8 to 10 hours, it is best to have your last cup no later than 2 pm. And your final alcoholic beverage of the day 3 hours before your bedtime.

But here’s one of the real game-changers for improving sleep quality: Magnesium!

Did you know that nearly 80% of people are deficient in magnesium? Magnesium is an essential mineral. Meaning that we have to get it from outside sources as our body cannot produce it.

It has a role in over 300 different functions in the body. Some of these include stabilizing moods, keeping stress levels in check, and aiding sleep. Thus, low levels of magnesium can throw our bodies out of whack. Magnesium supports restful sleep by maintaining levels of GABA, a brain chemical. Consequently, promoting relaxation, reducing stress, and supporting sleep in menopause. Studies have shown that dietary magnesium can improve insomnia symptoms. It may also have long-term benefits in reducing daytime sleepiness in women. Oral supplementation with magnesium has also shown benefit in those taking it an hour before bedtime. As the duration of the deep sleep stage increases, people fall asleep with ease, staying asleep for a long time.

Here are a few magnesium-rich foods to add to your shopping cart:
  • dark leafy greens (kale)
  • nuts and seeds (almond, cashew, sunflower, and sesame)
  • squash
  • broccoli
  • meat
  • chocolate
  • coffee

Food is always my favorite place to start, but if you need extra support, supplementation with magnesium glycinate can help. Boosting your magnesium intake and combining it with turning your bedroom into your spa will significantly improve your sleep in menopause. Hence, tap into all five senses. Keep your room dark, cool, cozy, and smelling good. Keep your food, caffeine, and alcohol intake in check. You’ll be amazed by how much better you sleep in menopause. And how refreshed and rejuvenated you will feel.

Written by Body Board member, Dr. Keira Barr. Dr. Barr is an author, global speaker, coach and physician who helps high-achieving women let go of perfectionism and self-doubt and embrace confidence and courage instead. She has helped thousands of women quiet their inner critic to amplify their own voices and live their most authentic life.