Tips for Better Sleeping in Menopause From Krista Cumming, Sleep/Hormone Expert and Registered Nutritional Therapist

When you start a new business, you naturally spread the word about your new venture to friends and friends of friends and friends of friends of friends…. This is exactly how I got to meet Krista Cumming who specializes in helping women in menopause sleep better.

It may seem like a niche specialty, but since so many of us have difficulty sleeping once we get to midlife, there are plenty of women Krista is able to help. One thing is certain – a good night’s sleep is essential for long-term good health. So, regaining your sleep should be a priority.

I don’t know about the rest of you, but despite the fact that I have night sweats under control, I still have trouble sleeping from time to time. I try to figure out why this might be happening, but it remains a mystery to me. From the wake-up sometime between 3:30-4:38am (yes, I’m being that specific since I wake up at 4:38 more often than not), to difficulty falling to sleep (although this is rare, it does happen once in a while), I thought Krista might be able to give us some pointers on how to sleep better.

 

First a little about you: How did you get started in this line of work?

I have always been in the health and wellness space. My educational background was in kinesiology and nutrition. I also worked as a dental hygienist in clinical practice for over 27 hears. I started to have sleep challenges as I approached my 50th birthday which surprised me as I had been a “good sleeper” my entire life. I saw little to no support for women at this age which surprised me. I also listened to friends complain about their lack of sleep and heard from numerous women at the dental office share their struggles. I began to receive a strong intuition that I needed to leave my dental hygiene job and support peri menopausal/ menopausal women with their sleep. I believe that sleep is the most important pillar of health.

 

Why is getting a good night’s sleep so much more difficult in middle age?

Sleep in the middle of life is challenging for many reasons. Fluctuating and declining hormones, raising teenage/young adult kids, caring for aging parents, career/ job stress, relationships and living in our modern world all take a toll on our sleep. Many women no longer live in sync with their natural circadian rhythm which makes sleep more challenging. Lifestyle choices that we make everyday affect our sleep. For example, unbalanced blood sugar levels, living in a sympathetic nervous state 24/7, lack of nature, alcohol use, hormonal imbalances and not making the connection between how we live and how we feel.  

 

What is the one thing that you see most of your clients doing (or not doing)?

I see a lot of women not prioritizing their sleep and themselves. Women in midlife have largely taken care of everyone but themselves and by the time they reach midlife they can no longer keep doing this. Difficulty falling/staying asleep is a clear message from our body that things need to shift. Your body is trying to get your attention!  Please listen. Midlife women need to have clear boundaries, radical self care and learn to put themselves at the top of the list. I often see women not making the connection between hormones and sleep. They are closely interconnected. Restorative sleep balances hormones and hormonal balance supports restful sleep. The two go hand in hand. Getting to the root cause of why you may have a hormonal imbalance is key (gut, adrenal and liver issues) and often overlooked by women. 

 

Do you ever recommend that women take supplements or can you get a better sleep just through diet and lifestyle changes?

I think supplements are necessary. The food that is grown in today is not as nutritious as the food our grandparents enjoyed due to degraded soil.  High stress levels, the prevalence of packaged/processed food and living outside of our circadian rhythm make supplements necessary. Taking high quality supplements specific to your needs will support a healthy diet and lifestyle.  I often see women look for a" magic “supplement to help with their sleep. You cannot supplement your way out of sleep issues if your lifestyle doesn’t change. There are a few foundational supplements I recommend to all women. After a thorough assessment I may recommend other supplements depending on their needs.

 

What is the connection between digestion and sleep?

 Digestion affects every cell, tissue, organ and system in your body. If we are not digesting and assimilating the nutrients we consume in our food our body won’t receive what it needs. For example, melatonin, is largely produced in our gut. If our gut is compromised our body's ability to make specific hormones will be compromised. I always work with clients on gut health because it is the foundation to sleep and overall health and vitality. 

Follow Krista on Instagram or join her Facebook group for more tips on how to sleep better. 

Instagram: @mymidlifementor

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/mymidlifementor

You can also reach her by email: krista@mymidlifementor.com

 

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