Embracing Restful Nights: How To Sleep Better During Menopause And Perimenopause

For many women, entering the midlife stage has the potential to be an exciting time of self-discovery and personal growth. However, the journey through perimenopause and menopause, which typically occurs between the ages of 38 and 55, can present unique challenges, both physical and mental. One such challenge is interrupted sleep, often caused by hot flashes (also known as hot flushes), night sweats, and other symptoms of menopause.

Menopause’s disruptive effect on sleep cannot be ignored because sleep plays a crucial role as a cornerstone of women’s health in midlife. It is vital that we understand as much as we can about why this happens during the menopause transition, and explore natural and practical ways of achieving better sleep. From mindfulness practices to menopause clothing like Become (specially designed to alleviate the discomfort of hot flashes and night sweats), there are many tried and tested methods to improve sleep quality, but choosing the right method for you means first getting to the bottom of what is actually disrupting your sleep.

Why Is Menopause Keeping Me Up At Night?

As women approach menopause, hormonal fluctuations, particularly a decline in estrogen and progesterone levels, can disrupt sleep patterns. Hot flashes and night sweats, experienced by many women during this time, can lead to increased discomfort and fragmented sleep. Studies show that up to up to 87% of women going through menopause experience vasomotor symptoms such as hot flashes and night sweats, with up to 60% of them experiencing sleep disturbances as well. [1]

Of course, vasomotor problems are not the only cause of disrupted sleep during menopause; sleep disorders such as insomnia, sleep apnea, and restless leg syndrome (RLS) are often associated with menopause and can be as disruptive as night sweats. Many women also face psychological challenges such as stress, anxiety, shifting moods, and changing outlooks on life during the menopause transition, and these can also contribute to loss of sleep.

Why Is Sleep So Important For Women During Midlife?

Quality sleep is vital for overall health and well-being, and it becomes even more critical during the menopause transition because sleep plays a pivotal role in hormone regulation, immune function, cognitive performance, and emotional balance. Sleep disturbances during menopause have been associated with an increased risk of cardiovascular disease, metabolic disorders, mood disorders, and diminished quality of life.[2]

However, sleep disturbances are hard to avoid during the menopause transition, as hormones such as estrogen play a significant role in regulating sleep. As estrogen levels fluctuate and decline, it can also impact the production of serotonin (commonly known as the “feel-good hormone”), which can not only contribute to sleep disturbances and mood changes but can also affect the production of melatonin, the hormone that regulates your sleep-wake cycle and circadian rhythm. [3]

Sleep difficulties during menopause can vary in severity and duration, ranging from the occasional poor night of sleep to severe sleep difficulties that have a more significant and prolonged effect on daytime functionality and quality of life, warranting a diagnosis of insomnia. Hot flashes, in particular, can create a cycle of chronic insomnia. Insomnia during perimenopause also increases the risk of developing depressive symptoms two- to threefold. [4] [5]Suffice it to say, it is really important for women going through the menopause transition to actively pursue a better quality of sleep.

Natural Ways To Enhance Your Zzz’s

There are many natural strategies that can help improve sleep quality and promote better rest during menopause. One effective approach is maintaining a consistent sleep schedule. Keeping to a routine of going to bed and waking up at the same time every day helps regulate your body’s internal clock and keep your circadian rhythm consistent, promoting better sleep. Incorporating relaxation techniques into a bedtime routine can also be beneficial, be they simple self-care rituals such as taking a bath, or practices such as mindfulness meditation, deep breathing exercises, and progressive muscle relaxation, which can help calm the mind and promote relaxation and sleep.

The space you sleep in can make a difference too. Keep your bedroom calm and comfortable, and ensure your mattress and pillows are supportive and cozy. Bedding should be breathable, regularly aired and laundered for maximum freshness, and the right weight for the season. Banishing screens and blue light from your sleeping space, whether that means switching off TVs, putting away laptops and tablets, or leaving your phone outside or out of reach, can go a long way in aiding better sleep too.

There are many lifestyle changes that can play a role in promoting better sleep, including dietary adjustments and exercise . Engaging in regular physical activity has been shown to improve sleep during menopause. Walking or running, yoga, pilates, and even feel-good exercise forms such as dancing are all beneficial options. Exercise can reduce stress and insomnia symptoms and improve overall sleep quality, and studies have shown that women who engaged in aerobic exercise experienced significant improvements in sleep quality and insomnia symptoms. [6]

Avoiding stimulants such as caffeinated drinks and alcohol close to bedtime can help prevent sleep disturbances. Studies have also found that consuming sleep-promoting foods rich in tryptophan, such as whole milk, turkey, nuts and seeds, can support the production of serotonin and melatonin and improve sleep quality in adults.[7] Sticking to a healthier diet that’s low in refined sugars and carbohydrates and includes more natural and plant-based foods can go a long way in balancing your hormones, reducing vasomotor symptoms and promoting better sleep.

A key factor to consider when addressing night sweats is the textiles that are in direct contact with your skin while you sleep because they can often be a make-or-break factor in whether night sweats awaken you or pass unnoticed. Wearing breathable and moisture-wicking nightwear is one of the most immediate ways to reduce the discomfort caused by night sweats, and in the last decade, major leaps have been made in the femtech industry in the creation of fabrics and menopause nightwear that are specifically engineered to help reduce the intensity of vasomotor symptoms.

Hot Or Not: The Fabric Edition

There is a common misconception that natural textiles such as light cottons, linens, and silks will keep you cool and dry. However, the hydrophilic properties of natural fibres like cotton means they actually hold on to moisture rather than wicking it away, so cotton clothing will become more saturated as you sweat.[8] And, though it may seem counterintuitive, textiles such as merino wool have excellent moisture-wicking properties compared to cotton – who would have thought to choose wool to keep cool?

The reality is that the best fabrics for moisture-wicking are those specially engineered to do so, like the materials used to make high-performance athletic clothing. The femtech industry has taken this even further, creating menopause-specific fabrics that not only wick away higher concentrations of moisture faster but also hold and release heat in a way that is more beneficial for regulating body temperature. It is these properties that make Become’s clothing so effective in managing hot flashes and night sweats while keeping you dry and promoting better sleep.

Sleep Becomes Better With Become

Become’s range of menopause clothing with patented Anti-Flush™ Technology is an instant and easy solution that is specially engineered to provide immediate relief from the vasomotor symptoms of menopause. One of the factors that really sets Become apart is its lightweight and buttery-soft fabric that’s made with a flat yarn with special coatings and knitted in a way that provides more surface area for heat transfer and moisture-wicking. It also has an anti-odor finish that works as a barrier against the bacteria on your skin that can cause body odor when it comes into contact with sweat, keeping you feeling fresh.

The unique coatings on our yarn give our fabric the ability to evaporate sweat and excess moisture away, as well as absorb, store, and re-release the body’s own heat as needed during all three phases of a hot flash. So, if you begin overheating in the first phase of a hot flash, the fabric will begin to absorb and store the excess heat. Then, when you are sweating it out in the second phase, it will rapidly wick away the moisture and continue absorbing the excess heat. Finally, when you are feeling chilly as you body temperature rapidly drops in the recovery phase, this incredible fabric will release the heat it was holding back to your skin, helping to manage your thermoregulation without lifestyle modifications or invasive treatments.

Another benefit of Become is our wide variety of clothing; we not only make a range of daywear, activewear, and underwear, but also a selection of comfortable nightdresses in different lengths, cuts, sleeve options, and fabric finishes. So, if you prefer to sleep in a nightdress, we’ve got you covered, but if you’re more of a pajamas person, our tees and pants work just as well as nightwear too. Of course, our range of underwear (including our super comfortable Everyday Bra ) is perfect for keeping the sweat at bay on their own, or paired with any other sleepwear of your choice.

The relief that comes with wearing Become menopause clothing isn’t just the physical relief of comfortably dry and uninterrupted sleep; it is also the psychological relief of not having to worry about your sleep hygiene, how you look waking up in the morning, your productivity during the day, or frequently disturbing your partner’s sleep. While many of the lifestyle changes, natural solutions, and perhaps even medical interventions may help you keep your balance as you move through this transitional phase of life, the right clothing is a way that you can take back your night (and your day), with ease and grace.

To find out more about how to sleep through the night during menopause, check out our tips for better sleep. You can also explore our Meno Guide to discover more advice and get the support you need to take on the ups and downs of menopause.

[1] Baker, F. C., Lampio, L., Saaresranta, T., & Polo-Kantola, P. (2018). Sleep and Sleep Disorders in the Menopausal Transition. Sleep medicine clinics, 13(3), 443–456. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6092036/

[2] Tandon, V. R., Sharma, S., Mahajan, A., Mahajan, A., & Tandon, A. (2022). Menopause and Sleep Disorders. Journal of mid-life health, 13(1), 26–33. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC9190958/

[3] https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/articles/23411-melatonin

[4] Baker FC, de Zambotti M, Colrain IM, Bei B. Sleep problems during the menopausal transition: prevalence, impact, and management challenges. Nat Sci Sleep. 2018;10:73-95. https://doi.org/10.2147/NSS.S125807

[5] Caruso, D., Masci, I., Cipollone, G., & Palagini, L. (2019). Insomnia and depressive symptoms during the menopausal transition: theoretical and therapeutic implications of a self-reinforcing feedback loop. Maturitas, 123, 78–81.https://doi.org/10.1016/j.maturitas.2019.02.007

[6] Yang, P. Y., Ho, K. H., Chen, H. C., & Chien, M. Y. (2012). Exercise training improves sleep quality in middle-aged and older adults with sleep problems: a systematic review. Journal of physiotherapy, 58(3), 157–163.https://doi.org/10.1016/S1836-9553(12)70106-6

[7] Afaghi, A., O’Connor, H., & Chow, C. M. (2007). High-glycemic-index carbohydrate meals shorten sleep onset. The American journal of clinical nutrition, 85(2), 426–430. https://doi.org/10.1093/ajcn/85.2.426

[8] Rohrig, B. (2022). Don’t Sweat It: How Moisture-Wicking Fabrics Keep You Cool and Dry. In Chemistry.https://inchemistry.acs.org/atomic-news/dont-sweat-it.html