21 June, 2019

Menopause And Insomnia – Sleepless In South Wales

I know that title doesn’t have quite the resonance of the film Sleepless In Seattle but still…  One of the many joys of the menopause seems to be insomnia.  And not just any old insomnia.

Oh no.  We are not necessarily talking about a racing brain that is happily creating to-do lists or pulling decade-old embarrassing memories to the fore.

I am talking about being perfectly wide-awake and feeling as if you don’t need any sleep at all. And this joyous state of affairs is currently hitting me at around 2:36 AM with monotonous regularity.

Menopause and insomnia

Apparently, this might be because my progesterone levels are wrong but since I have not had a proper analysis of my hormone levels, I’m none the wiser.

Many of my ‘menopausal sisters’ seem to know exactly how much oestrogen and progesterone they have and have been given HRT prescriptions to rectify these on a far more scientific basis than just being handed a tube of Ovestin.

It’s such a lottery, isn’t it?  Menopausal care from our GPs and yet there are millions of us suffering and desperately trying to overcome the inevitable dragging tiredness and complete ‘slump’ that hits 12 hours later, in my case at 2 pm.

The level of fatigue is such that a couple of strong coffees or a sugary snack goes nowhere near perking you up.

Naturally this tiredness affects your concentration, your productivity, your mood and your appetite.

It’s a vicious circle that sees me swinging from tiredness to caffeine to sugar to guilt to tiredness.  Round and round we go.

The problem with this is that it also affects your relationship with your nearest and dearest. You are far more likely to shout (bellow!) when you are knackered and just want to go to bed.

I know that I am impatient, cranky, less likely to listen to the kids and just generally less engaged with anything going on around me.

I know that I am not alone and wonder how those who are employed, rather than self-employed as I am, cope with the 9-5 and the pressures of belligerent bosses, deadlines and annoying colleagues.  (I loved corporate life – can you tell?!)

My dad, who also struggles to sleep, has discovered that you can get an antihistamine based sleeping tablet which won’t leave you feeling drowsy in the day.

But for those of us suffering from vaginal atrophy or any level of dryness down below, antihistamines can increase dryness and thus discomfort.

Not what you want when you are sitting down all day.

In any case, I would rather try a natural supplement than rely on a full strength sleeping tablet.

I have also, I have discovered, become an incredibly light sleeper.  Having a bedroom which faces the road means that any car driving past tends to wake me.

For instance, we have, for reasons I cannot fathom, a milkman who delivers milk two doors up at midnight.  At least, I am assuming it is milk being delivered!

We also have a company who delivers dog food at 5:30 am. I am also assuming it is dog food being delivered.

Perhaps early hour and dawn deliveries are a peculiarly ‘Dinas’ thing but they don’t make for a restful sleeping environment.

Add to that the racket made by certain snoring residents of Hobbis Towers who shall remain nameless and on some nights I find myself thinking that I may just as well get up.

Those of you of a certain age will remember the lovable cartoon cat – Top Cat – (TC) who used to sleep in a dustbin wearing a sleep mask and earplugs.

Substitute the dustbin for my bed and we have a lot in common.  If anyone were to break in at night it looks like I have been taken hostage.

Well as far as I am concerned, I have been – by my hormones.

If you have any tips for a restful night’s sleep please let me know!

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