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Your Brain on Menopause

Hormone surges and dips throughout menopause affect your brain as well as the rest of your body. Here's what happens and why, and how to cope.

Sleep Your Way to Happier Menopause continued...

What you should avoid: Hot and spicy foods, as well as caffeine, at least several hours before bedtime. They may keep you awake and increase hot flashes, even in your sleep.

And relaxation can also have a positive effect on sleep. Cornell University sleep expert Samuel Dunkell, MD, says that taking 20 to 30 minutes to engage in a particularly relaxing activity right before going to bed may help you fall into a deeper sleep faster -- and that means more and better quality rest can be yours.

Also, if hot flashes and "night sweats" are causing you to wake up, taking steps to sleep "cooler" can help. Sleepwear should be 50/50 cotton/polyester, and you should avoid nylon nighties or PJs. They can hold in body heat that may cause you to wake more easily if you do get a hot flash in your sleep.

Finally, sleeping with a window open and using light covers may provide the most help of all, since remaining cool during the night can help net you some better quality and more restful slumber. And that, in turn, may help control mood swings for a whole day.

Published July 2005.
Medically Updated August 2006.

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