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Psychologist and resident expert for sleep technology firm Simba Hope Bastine shared the best ways women can ease night sweats as well as soothe other symptoms such as weight gain, and it is all about “the quality of your slumber” during menopause, the expert said.
Hope revealed that Maca, a vegetable related to broccoli, cauliflower and kale, is very effective in alleviating hot flushes as well as other menopause symptoms.
The plant stimulates balanced levels of hormones and can be purchased online or in specialist health food stores in powder form, which can be used in smoothies or hot drinks, ideally before bed.
Adding soy to the diet has been found to be beneficial for menopausal women. Soy is found in foods such as tofu, tempeh, edamame, miso and soy milk and contains isoflavone compounds – that have oestrogen-like properties.
“Researchers analysing 19 studies, identified that soy isoflavone supplements reduced the severity of hot flushes by around 26 percent, in contrast to a placebo,” Hope said.
A recent study from the University of Illinois revealed soy components can greatly help manage weight gain and that “when soy consumption goes up, weight goes down”.
Experts at Foodnavigator added soy-based protein can support “significant” weight loss.
Simply adding delicious foods such as tofu, soy milk, miso soup or soy sauce can help lose menopausal weight.
Red clover tea
Red clover can also help reduce hot flushes and night sweats and prevent menopausal weight gain. It can be purchased in the form of supplements or teas.
Chasteberry is another spice that can significantly reduce menopause symptoms and prevent weight gain and it’s particularly effective against hot flushes.
The superfood can be especially helpful for those in the “perimenopausal phase” – the period of time leading up to menopause.
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Hope explained ensuring the right sleep conditions is essential to avoid menopause symptoms and knowing how to manage hot flushes at night is key. She recommended a few easy tips such as “switching to a lighter duvet to help keep you cool” or “sleeping with the bedroom window open,” if weather permits.
Another hack is “opting to cover just yourself in bed” which “could help you manage your body temperature better”. With separate duvets, “you can adjust your preferred blanket weight and temperature more effortlessly,” she said.
According to the expert, 16-18 degrees is the optimum temperature for a good night’s sleep. In order to alleviate night sweats, it is recommended to try to take this down to as low as 12 degrees.
“Try ditching the hot water bottle and replace it with a couple of ice packs before bed to lower the temperature before you get in,” Hope suggested.
Menopausal sleep deprivation can exacerbate and undermine your ability to concentrate and worsen other menopause symptoms.
Hope shared a simple hack to practice mindfulness: “Start by holding a walnut. Begin to examine the kernel and husks. Pay close attention to how the wrinkled shell feels to the touch. Look in detail at the shape, its patterns and textures and how this reacts to your manipulation.
“Take a moment to smell the walnut. Then close your eyes and smell it once more. Is there a change? Hold your breath for a second or two and pay attention to how long the scent stays. Anything with a unique shape and texture works, but I especially like walnuts as eating a handful a day may also help improve memory and concentration.
“A study in 2015 found that adults who consumed walnuts showed consistently greater cognitive function than those who did not”, she revealed.
Meditative techniques are also great for regulating body temperature, improving one’s wellbeing, and staying in shape.
Practising a simple breathing technique that women can do anywhere, designed to cool the body, can help them greatly.
Hope explained: “Start by popping your tongue out, then curl the sides of it in. Think of it like your tongue becoming a straw to drink in the air. Take a slow deep breath in for five seconds, taking time to feel the cool air refresh your throat and fill your lungs. Draw the tongue back in. Hold for a second, then exhale through your nose. Start the process again, and repeat for 10.”
Similarly, affirmations can help and standing firm in the knowledge that “This too will pass” has a way of helping us cope with life’s adversities. “The good news is that once we come out the other side of the change period, slow wave sleep improves,” Hope said.
Women are advised to talk to their doctor before taking any natural supplements or superfoods.
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