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Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Menopause and Sleeping Well

Can anything but drugs help the quality of menopausal women's sleep? This is what Anne has to say about it:

For most menopausal and perimenopausal women, the worst time of the day is actually the night. With hot flashes raging, bedding soaked with the accompanying night sweats, a good night's sleep seems but a faint memory. Apart from resorting to HRT and other medications is there anything simple and natural that one can do to help? The surprising answer is yes, and it is as simple as changing the materials in one's bedding. How can this be?

Some basic body facts. The skin is our largest organ and during every minutre of every day and night our skin is breathing and giving off moisture vapor. During the day we rarely notice this as we often dress in layeres (the number one tip during the menopausal years), but at night when we are tucked under the bed covers, how does our skin breathe? With difficulty at the best of times!! Especially with the great use of synthetic materials and foams used today in mattresses and bedding products, our bodies overheat, and we have to throw the bed covers on and off. During menopause when our internal thermostats are under great stress and functioning poorly, this problem is greatly magnified. Quite simply we heat up so fast during hot flashes that before we have even awakened, we are drenched in sweat - then we are cold, damp, and unable to get back to sleep.

There is a material that can wick this excess moisture away from our bodies that would eliminate this dampness from our beds, and it could help you sleep better tonight. The name of this miracle fiber is wool. Wool's unique ability to absorb up to 1/3 of its weight in moisture without feeling damp allows it to efficiently wick away the one litre of moisture vapour our bodies lose each night. Only wool creates a micro-climate which assists in regulating body temperature and humidity, thus relieving the body of thermal stress and promoting a deeper, better quality sleep. Now with our malfunctioning internal thermostats we will still have hot flashes, and still sweat at nights, however with wool drawing this excess moisture away from our bodies and releasing it into the outside environment, our beds don't stay damp, our bodies do not become chilled, and it is far easier to fall back to sleep without having to get our of bed and change drenched bedding.

A wool filled duvet coved in a breathable cotton or bamboo cover would be the first choice to improve menopausal sleep. If your mattress is foam (especially memory foam) a superwash wool mattress overlay (basically a mattress cover) will dramatically reduce overheating, thus increasing the quality of sleep.
Thanks Anne. We are glad that wool has helped you to sleep better!

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