Did you know today is World Sleep Day, as I said last week there is nearly a day for everything but I LOVE sleep. In my college days I most definitely did not adhere or understand the importance of a sleep routine but with years comes wisdom I guess!
A good nights sleep is imperative in Perimenopause, without it the next day can be so hard and your body will not be happy with you for not giving it the rest it needs to restore itself after a busy day. I'm not a late owl, I'm definitely a morning person and more so now than when I was younger - I also find those mornings at the weekend when I sleep in that bit longer I feel much groggier for awhile and it takes me longer to wake up. Conversely, those Sunday mornings when I'm up early and off for a run my body is buzzing and I'm flying for the day - our bodies love routine, they love the rhythm of routine and knowing the same amount of sleep comes at the end of every day. Yes this can be boring and yes we can't do it every night but if you can aim for it most nights your body will thank you. I love nothing more than an early night with a good book and knowing I have many hours ahead of luscious sleep.
Some Top Sleep Tips :
💖Use breathing techniques to help you drift off to sleep
💖If you are experiencing night sweats or feel sticky have a quick shower before bedtime, it will always make you feel better.
💖Research Valerian and passionflower, these two herbs can be very helpful
💖Practice good sleep hygiene:
o Electronics free zone
o Keep the room as dark and cold as possible
o Exercise during the day, not last thing at night
o A regular bedtime and wake time
o Declutter your bedroom. Take the time to do this a clutter-free room will immediately lead to a calmer mind.
o Do not look at your phone, or iPad the last thing at night
o If you worry during the night, use the Special Worry Time technique - see below.
o Avoid caffeine, alcohol in the late afternoon and evening.
The last few talks I have found similar questions come up from the audience or ladies in private - so today I'm answering those questions which I hope will reach and help others.
Please note any products mentioned are ones I have used and believe in - I have no affiliation to any products.
What do I take everyday ?
My go-to dailies are Camu Camu & Rhodiola. I have used Camu Camu for a few years now and I totally love it - it can benefit every one of every age. It contains Vitamin C from Camu Camu berries which contain bioflavonoids & amino acids so essential to our body’s everyday functioning. Vitamin C is an antioxidant and as such supports the immune system - Camu has a far greater reach containing beta carotene, calcium, b vitamins, minerals & amino acids. I also love how great it is for my skin - it’s a collagen booster and I find it really enhances my skin. Also to mention the Camu berry is often referred to as the Feel Good Fruit due to its mood elevating properties and it can be very helpful for mild to moderate depression.
For those who know me you will know I'm passionate about good ethically sourced products - Sara has had her own journey and the result which is helping so many people is these fantastic ethically sourced products from Peru.
Rhodiola increases tolerance to various stressors, i.e. mental, physical, and environmental. This herb acts predominantly on the hypothalamus in a way that normalises the manner in which the body responds to stress triggers. It is also said to reduce mental & physical fatigue.
Can soy isoflavones help with menopause symptoms?
Yes, they can - you do need to be mindful of how you are taking it, my preference is via food but you can use a supplement like Red Clover for a higher dosage. There are several arguments out there about the impact of soy and also when you have thyroid issues. In Asia and Japan, in particular, they suffer less symptoms than the western world - attitude I’m sure is one reason in Japan where women in midlife are revered, in the west the attitude is different, thankfully changes are happening on this front. Japanese women report fewer symptoms which may be due to the high level of soy in the daily diet.
I have no symptoms should I take any supplements now ?
Prepare and prepare some more!
If you have no symptoms now and your in your mid 40’s be mindful of the journey ahead and prepare yourself - get ready to embrace and enjoy this chapter. There may be rough patches but you will move through them - keep exercising, be social, eat good food and if you feel you need an immune support then Camu Camu is the very best support for anyone at any age.
Any suggestions for an intense fear of driving that came on very suddenly ? Last weekend I was driving and I got really anxious and wasn’t able to keep driving
Anxiety can, unfortunately, reach a peak in menopause and it can happen at any time. I see the fear of driving, fear of crowded places life supermarkets a lot. When this happens the first suggestion is to concentrate on your breathing - pull the car over, open the window if you can and breath very slowly and very deeply. I would do this for 5 minutes.
Distraction then is your next best friend - your brain has fooled you into thinking you're in a dangerous situation and you have gone into fight & flight mode. You need to distract your brain out of that mode - breathing will help.
What I have found great with clients is a podcast or an audio-book in the car. This really takes the brain away from focusing on anxiety. Longer term you need to look at more self-care, more downtime for yourself to re-energize your mind & your body.
How can I relieve itchy dry skin on my legs & arms?
Water, water and more water with electrolytes are essential for health at midlife. Good hydration will help towards dryness. Ensure you are absorbing the water you drink, rather than it just flushing out your system. To enhance hydration try add the following foods to your diet: Coconut water ,Watermelon,Celery, Kefir, Cucumber, Kiwi, Bell peppers, Citrus fruit, Carrots, Pineapple. I also find Extra Virgin Coconut Oil brilliant - Dr. Coy an Irish company do a lovely one that I use - I use it on my body and also in my cooking ( it's a lovely addition to a warm bowl of porridge). For your body you will find a small bit goes a very long way so it lasts ages and personally I love the smell of coconut.
Last week I was told I was in menopause - I am 41 what can I do?
Every week I am stunned by the increasing number of women going into early menopause - the symptoms of premature menopause ( under the age of 45) can be exactly as in natural menopause and the treatment would be the same. You do need to be mindful of other areas - long term bone & heart health. This is an area I am keen to work more in, as such I will be doing more on this over the coming months - going into early menopause comes with additional emotional and psychological challenges that we all need to be aware of - being kind and gentle on yourself is very important as you navigate early menopause.
I had my first ever panic attack a few weeks ago - is this common in perimenopause ?
Panic attacks can be very common in Perimenopause, they can happen out of the blue and sometimes even when your feeling your most relaxed. The first port of call is to rule out anemia - I have had several clients who have had panic attacks physically occurring like palpitations and when they have had their blood tested it has shown them to be anemic. This is not always the case but it is important to rule this out. The next step is to empower yourself to understand what a panic attack is and how your brain can fool your body into the physical symptoms - this will take the fear out of it and help you feel stronger and equipped to handle another one. There is much more to this form of anxiety and for that I would suggest you refer to the Best-friends Guide to Anxiety.
I suffer horrendous bloating what can I do ?
Bloating can be very common in perimenopause - it’s imperative you ensure your bowels are moving regularly. The average western diet doesn’t support regular bowel function so you need to be mindful of this, eat loads of fruit & vegetables and I would also recommend adding more fiber by way of Psyllium Husks. Psyllium husks make the stomach feel full and stimulate bowel movements in a very gentle way. You can buy these in most health stores - the taste is very bland and boring so a great alternative is Sylliflor by Rocahealthcare. They come in small sachets or larger tubs with lovely tastes and flavor - there is even one with added calcium which gives a double boost! Just make sure you drink plenty of water when you have it.
Have you found Maca helpful with night sweats and energy ? There are so many on the web how do I know what is good ?
I love Maca, it’s a fantastic and exciting herb - exciting as so much new research is coming out showing more great benefits it can give- just last month research was published to show the bone strengthening properties of Maca and case studies where osteoporosis was reverted to osteopenia.
Maca has been used for centuries and it’s use dates back to 8,000 BC! It is commonly known for its energy giving properties but it does so much more. In my experience it is the number one herb in perimenopause helping balance the hormones that change during this chapter, it is also a great source of iron & calcium.
What you really need to be careful with is the many forms of Maca on the market - I am saddened by the marketing campaigns of many companies that target vulnerable women by promising quick results from what more often than not are a substandard form of Maca. I only recommend products that I have personally worked with and that I am passionate about - for me the 3 Root Maca by Sara's Choice is the only one to consider in the market. What I really love is the accessibility to all of us with this product - Sara being so passionate about helping women provides capsules but once you know what your body needs you can move to the powder form - once your confident in dosage this is easy to use.
Please note the dosage with Maca is essential so please contact me with any questions.
I have hemochromatosis can I take Maca ?
Unfortunately not due to the iron content - you can look at other supports dependent on the symptoms.
I have just completed cancer treatment can I take Maca ?
Yes, you can but it needs careful monitoring, you will need to get your Estradiol levels taken and monitor these as you take Maca. Guidance and advise on dosage would have to be considered on an individual basis and also would need to take into account the type of cancer you had.
I sometimes feel there are now days for everything and we are taking the goodness out of events, but saying that there are many days on the calendar that do deserve recognition and today is one of those days. Last night I was talking to a group of ladies in Kilkenny about Perimenopause and it inevitably led to talking about evolution...did we draw the short straw we often wonder. Personally I don't think we did - yes we have a roller coaster ride through life....who doesn't...but it is our attitude to life, to ourselves that shines through. We are amazing beings, we are strong beyond our awareness and we are so adaptable. Think about the journey of perimenopause, all the changes that happen along the way and we adapt, we change, we bolster ourselves to move through all these chapters. The key is Embracing perimenopause, embracing the changes that happen and realising that out of this journey we emerge stronger women.
Butler House, where our event was held last night, was the Dower house of Lady Eleanor Butler, the first Eleanor Butler was the niece of King Henry II and joined the Butler family in the 14th Century - can you imagine the life she had compared to us today. Yes I am sure there was great privilege but I am also sure there was great constraint. Today we have so much freedom, we can make our own choices, we can direct our path in the way we want, we can accomplish so much when we put our minds to it. We are lucky, we are living in a great time, we have so much opportunity to make the very best of our lives and embrace the journey we are on.
Celebrate who you are, celebrate your shape, your size, your opinions, your everything - we are all unique and that's what makes this world so exhilarating. Embrace being a woman, embrace the challenges of perimenopause - they change us into wiser women - and most of all enjoy the journey.
Happy International Women's Day Goddesses !
Following from my recent post on collagen several people asked the question about how to get it if your vegetarian and what are the best products to look at. Here I answer some of those questions.
As we know collagen comes from animals, the vegetarian source comes from eggshells and egg whites - there is no direct source by which to consume collagen for vegans. There are product made from plants which are vegan collagen but they also contain many other ingredients and more often than not unwanted ingredients.
There are other ways however to make your collagen levels flourish and grow and that is by eating those foods that enhance the body's production of this essential protein. See the prior post for more information on these foods so essential in menopause.
There is an array of products on the market for collagen - liquid collagen, collagen powder, collagen tablets, gummies, candies and even chocolates ! The standards for making collagen has improved dramatically over the last few years but you should research any product you are about to invest in and be happy it can be fully traced back to point of origin. The source should be form non GMO fish, cows, chickens, or pork then hydrolyzed (broken down with water) , filtered, milled into powder and sterilized. If you but collagen powder the best way to check it'as quality is to pour a small amount of lukewarm water into a glass add a scoop of collagen and mix until it dissolves - high quality pure collagen will result in a translucent colour, when you taste it it should be tasteless. Yellow, brown, or tinted result means you should run a mile and not touch it !I would also advise against collagen sourced from China - the standards are well known to be low.
Personally I don't take collagen but what I do take daily is Camu Camu - this is a gem of Vitamin C in it's purest form.
Abstract from Sara's Choice :
'It’s not just Vitamin C ! Camu Camu provides 499,000 ppm (parts per million) vitamin C, oranges provide just 500-4,000 ppm! In further comparison, it provides 10 times more iron, 3 times more niacin, twice as much riboflavin, and 50% more phosphorus. It is a significant source of potassium, providing 900mg per 100g of fruit.'
I have been using Camu Camu for well over a year now and recommend it to clients often - it is great not just for boosting collagen but for when a cold strikes you can nip it in the bud before it progresses.
We know the main builders & preservers of collagen making are Vitamin C and bioflavonoids and Camu Camu has the most powerful natural vitamin C-bioflavanoid complex in the world.
Yesterday I was chatting to Aisling (MySecondSpring) about the top tips for women in menopause and inevitably this led is to anxiety and my view is if you can take away one piece of knowledge - it doesn't have to be food, diet etc but it's to Keep Social.
Bringing you the latest research and health tips to help you navigate perimenopause and beyond