Menopause Diet: Foods to Avoid for Better Sleep
If you are reading this article, you are probably tired and going through menopause. And you are not alone.
Poor sleep is one of the many side effects change, and it leads to anything from lack of energy to depression. Fortunately, there are ways to make menopause a little easier, and as usual, one of them is a menopausal diet.
Although we cannot stop menopause, we can combat some of the effects by adjusting our diet.
Let’s dive into how you can improve your sleep quality with a nutritious menopause diet so you can join women around the world in eating your way to a better night’s sleep.
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Why Menopause Affects Your Sleep Habits
According to medical experts at the National Institute on Aging, menopause is officially recognized 12 months after the last menstrual period. However, the symptoms associated with the transition to this phase of life can last for many years. Unfortunately, sleep disturbances are one of the most unpleasant and destructive symptoms.
During menopause, the production of progesterone and estrogen decreases dramatically. These hormones play a key role in maintaining a healthy circadian rhythm. Therefore, when the production level drops, it will be difficult for you to fall asleep. And when you do eventually drift off, you’ll probably wake up several times during the night.
Menopausal women have to deal with several physical and emotional symptoms that further disrupt sleep. The tides will constantly wake you up. Additionally, increased anxiety—a common symptom of menopause—will prevent you from relaxing.
However, while we cannot stop menopause, we can combat some of these effects by adjusting our diet. What we eat plays a big role in how well we sleep, so a few small dietary changes can make a big difference. Keep reading to find out how a menopausal diet can keep your Zzz’s.
Looking for more ways to improve your sleep? Read: What is Yoga Nidra? Learn all about yogic sleep here
Menopause Diet: Here are the top 3 foods for better sleep:
Certain types of food will calm your nervous system and encourage your body and mind to go into a relaxed state. There is a large amount of research on this topic, and according to sources such as The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, the most popular sleep-inducing foods include:
1. Whole grains
Whole grains are surprisingly rich in a number of nutrients and vitamins that promote sleep. They are rich in fiber and also offer a number of essential B vitamins. Tryptophan is an amino acid found in whole grains. It has been proven to be very effective in increasing the production of melatonin and serotonin. In tandem, these hormones improve your mood and promote a stable sleep cycle.
2. Nuts and seeds
Before going to bed, it is highly recommended to eat a few nuts and seeds. Ideally, you should eat walnuts, almonds or pumpkin seeds. The seeds contain tryptophan and are also a rich source of magnesium and omega-3 fatty acids; both promote relaxation.
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3. Vegetables and fruits
Although the health benefits of fruits and vegetables are well known, they have been scientifically proven to support a healthy circadian rhythm. Fruits and vegetables are rich sources of potassium, magnesium, vitamin C and lycopene, which promote sleep. Kiwis, bananas, oranges, and leafy greens are some of the most popular food sources for rejuvenating sleep.
The Power of Potassium: Learn the Key Benefits + How to Get Enough Potassium in Your Diet
3 foods that affect sleep for menopausal women and should be avoided:
Foods that are high in processed sugar will spike your blood sugar, leaving you groggy and awake. In addition, sugar can make hot flashes more intense and frequent, thus preventing you from falling asleep at night.
Eating spicy food can lead to intense hot flashes and can also increase anxiety levels. Both are undesirable and will prevent you from falling asleep.
Now that we’ve covered sugar and spice, next on the list is “everything nice,” but not quite. Cocoa is included in many sweet and chocolate dishes. Unfortunately, it is a stimulant, so it affects the quality of your sleep. Try replacing your evening hot chocolate with a healthier, less stimulating alternative.
Why certain foods and nutrients are good for menopausal women
Menopause is accompanied by many physiological changes; many of which will change the way you feel about your body. Foods that help menopausal women to sleep reverse these changes at the hormonal and nutritional levels. Taking care of these building blocks of health allows you to work on establishing a stable sleep cycle.
Foods that help menopausal women to sleep reverse these changes at the hormonal and nutritional levels.
For example, omega-3 fatty acids found in nuts and seeds fight inflammation, thus promoting a comfortable and restful sleep. Calcium, a mineral found in leafy greens and whole grains, effectively minimizes stress while maintaining bone health. This mitigates other uncomfortable side effects of aging that affect sleep quality.
When to eat the right diet for menopause
We’ve outlined the main food categories that promote or hinder sleep for menopausal women. However, it is important that your diet during menopause is stable and does not prevent you from experiencing joy and satisfaction from delicious food.
With this in mind, we can offer a relatively simple strategy. If you do want to eat the foods you need to avoid, do it earlier in the day and keep your intake to a minimum. These foods can trigger hot flashes at any time, so you want to make sure your body has time to process them before you try to sleep.
As one of the healthy habits you can adopt, you should eat foods that promote a healthy circadian rhythm as you begin to wind down towards evening. You want to give yourself time to go into a state of relaxation while your body extracts the healing vitamins and minerals that improve sleep. Also, eating right before bed is not ideal for promoting sleep at any stage of life.
Need more great ideas to help you fight insomnia? Read: Sleep problems? Practice these 4 yoga poses for insomnia
How to change your diet when you are going through a change
Everyone is worried change in a unique way. For some it starts gradually, for others it starts quickly. However, 63% of women report sleepiness during menopause, so sleep or lack thereof is a common problem.
Fortunately, with a little self-compassion and a welcoming menopause diet, you can get through this profound period of change on your own terms. The trick is to slowly and gradually adjust your daily habits.
You know yourself and your body best. There will be some sleep-enhancing foods that you just can’t stomach, and that’s okay. Or you might crave a curry now and then.
Allow yourself the space and flexibility to find a solution that meets your personal needs and desires. When your circadian rhythm is restored, you’ll be able to feel refreshed and energized every day, regardless of the changes your body is going through.
All information included is not intended for treatment or diagnosis. The views expressed are those of the author and should be attributed solely to the author. For medical issues, please consult your doctor.