HysterSisters Checking In Newsletter
MARCH 1, 2011
Recently I spent the night in a lovely hotel overlooking a beautiful beach.
The weather was perfect. The bed was comfy. The pillows were just right. And
yet, even with all the ingredients for a perfect night's sleep, I had a
restless one instead.
A live band had set up a stage on the beach. For whatever reason, the city
ordinance about "sound levels after midnight" were ignored. I struggled to
sleep with my head under the pillow. I was challenged to try to mask the heavy
noise with the room's fan. No matter what I tried to do, the throbbing beat
of the bass kept me from sleeping.
Finally, at 3 a.m,.the music shut down.
Finally at 3 a.m., I fell asleep.
And at 7 a.m., in an earlier time zone than my body is accustomed to, the alarm
clock woke me for a meeting.
There are times when our sleep habits are interrupted and we must simply get
through it. But if your sleep is interrupted on a regular basis, it's time
to take notice and make some purposeful adjustments to your sleep regime.
And if your adjustments are not helping to get your sleep back on track,
it's time to talk to your medical professional about it!
In this month's issue we have gathered some great information to help make
sure you are getting your "Zzzzz's."
Here's to better sleep for you!
Why Good Sleep Matters
MARCH 1, 2011
It’s normal to have occasional sleep disruptions, but when the sleep troubles
last, you can experience serious problems.
Sleep deprivation can mess with our lives in several ways:
- It causes accidents, both in driving and on the job. It can impair with our
judgment and our concentration.
- Learning and thinking become more difficult, partly because you’re more tired
and partly because your brain makes important cognitive connections while you
- New research suggests that getting too little sleep can increase the risk of
heart attack, stroke and other cardiovascular disease that can result in early
death. Lack of sleep can be seen as a lifestyle risk similar to smoking,
alcohol, and lack of exercise.
- It can affect your sex drive, lowering your libido and interest in intimacy.
- It can contribute to symptoms of depression.
Your skin doesn’t have a chance to regenerate, leading to puffy eyes, fine
lines, and dull skin.
Chronic lack of sleep is unhealthy and can be dangerous. Sleep deprivation can
contribute to the likelihood of being in auto accidents and other mishaps. And,
it certainly compromises your feeling of well-being and jeopardizes your overall
quality of life. It is a medical fact that insomnia is caused by an underlying
condition. Your doctor can work with you to uncover that condition and treat it
with the appropriate therapy. If the underlying condition is successfully
treated, the insomnia will go away.
If you are starting to rely on over-the-counter medication or if your lack of
sleep is affecting your daily life, it is time to see your doctor so you can be
helped. After all, you deserve to be the best “you” that you can be, and getting
sufficient sleep is part of the formula.
Turn Down the Heat of Night Sweats
MARCH 1, 2011
Menopause doesn't "let up" just because you've gone to bed. In fact, hot flashes, the most common menopause-related symptom, can occur even in your sleep. Hot flashes that occur at night, and may be strong enough to wake you up, are called night sweats. If you're experiencing moderate to severe night sweats, it's important to talk to your doctor about all the ways you can manage them, including estrogen therapy.
A hot flash is a sudden wave of heat that's sometimes followed by a red, flushed face and sweating. Up to 90% of American women experience hot flashes following surgery-induced menopause. A night sweat is simply a hot flash that occurs at night. Night sweats are often accompanied by heavy perspiration that can soak your clothes and bedding. Do you think you might be experiencing night sweats?
Luckily, there are options available that may reduce your night sweats. Estrogen therapy is proven to be the most effective treatment for hot flashes and night sweats.
In addition to using hormone replacement therapy try the following tips to help manage night sweats:
Keep your bedroom cool at night
Keep a glass of water bedside
Wear light cotton clothes to bed
Avoid alcohol, caffeine, and spicy foods
Use layered bedding
Always talk to your doctor before starting any exercise program or making changes to your diet.
Struggling with Insomnia? Help Yourself Catch Some Zzzzzzz’s . . .
MARCH 1, 2011
Lying in bed for hours, watching the minutes and hours pass by, worrying
about what time you have to get up in the morning, and then dragging through the
next day—sound familiar? Or, are you struggling with sleep while recovering from
your hysterectomy? If you have trouble falling asleep or staying asleep, maybe
some of these tips can help.
Have good daily habits. There are several things you can do to enhance
your chances of good sleep, ranging from your daily activities to your sleeping
- Ensure adequate exposure to natural light during the day.
- Exercise in the morning or late afternoon can promote good sleep.
- Limit naps.
- Turn your alarm clock around so it is not facing you; do not look at the
clock during the night, as this can cause more stress and anxiety about your
- Associate your bed with sleep. It’s not a good idea to use your bed to
watch TV, listen to music, or read.
- Make sure your sleep environment is pleasant and relaxing. The bed should
be comfortable, with the room neither too hot nor too cold.
- Establish set times for waking and sleeping, getting up and going to bed
at the same times every day (yes, even on the weekends).
Set the stage As you start to wind down your day, your activities make
a difference as well. Having a nice relaxing dinner with a glass of wine,
followed by some time on the computer, may sound like a perfect evening—but it
might be adding to your sleep problems.
- Control the stimuli in your bedroom, avoiding bright lights and loud
- Stay away from large meals close to bedtime.
- Avoid stimulants such as caffeine, nicotine, and alcohol 4 hours before
- Avoid using electronic devices one hour before bed.
- Check with your doctor before taking over-the-counter medications like
Tylenol PM, Sominex, or herbal products. Just because products are sold
without a prescription doesn’t mean that they are safe and appropriate for
everyone to use in all situations.
Help, I’ve fallen asleep and woken back up! What if you wake up during
the night and can’t fall back asleep?
- Keep a notepad and pencil by your bed to write down any thoughts that may
wake you up at night so you can put them to rest.
- Get out of bed. Go back to bed only when you feel sleepy again.
- Stay off the computer.
The Post-op Princess and the Pea Having difficulty falling asleep, or
staying asleep, is common among hysterectomy patients, particularly during the
early post-op weeks. The trauma of surgery combined with the residual effect of
anesthesia and pain medications compounded by hormonal disruption (even if you
retained your ovaries) can throw your body completely “out of whack.” Even if
you have never been plagued by sleep problems before, after you return home from
the hospital you may find yourself lying in bed wide awake for most of the
For most women, this problem gradually goes away as they continue to heal and
recover from the surgery. However, for temporary aid, many HysterSisters
have found these remedies effective in promoting a good night’s sleep:
- Drink a cup of Ovaltine at bedtime, a mug of hot milk, or “Sleepytime” or
other herbal or de-caf tea.
- Have a few slices of turkey on crackers as a bedtime snack.
- If your doctor has cleared you to take baths, take a warm bath (whirlpool
if you have one) before bed.
- Light a scented candle and play some soothing music to enhance the
- Try relaxation exercises or listen to relaxing music.
- Take extra steps to make your sore and hurting body more comfortable in
bed, such as using extra pillows.
If you start taking HRT after your hysterectomy, the hormones “should” help
alleviate your insomnia. However, bear in mind that it may take up to three
months for HRT to reach its full effectiveness. With or without HRT, if your
insomnia persists, it is important that you see your doctor about this issue.
Whether your insomnia is long-term or is part of your hysterectomy recovery, you
deserve to be well-rested. If your sleep problems interfere with your daily
life, be sure to speak with your doctor.
Top 10 Sleep Tips from Members
MARCH 1, 2011
We asked our members and our Facebook fans what helps them get a good night's
sleep. Here are their suggestions.
- I have found that taking a double dose of calcium magnesium with Vitamin D
helps me feel calm and sleep well naturally.–SM
- Meditation works.—LI
- Body pillow works if feeling uncomfortable is the issue.—BS
- I start with my warmed milk.—TL
- I used a light therapy lamp. ME
- I try visualization - going to my happy place. I have a "relax" playlist
on my IPod, deep breathing - in for 3, hold for 3, and exhale for 3, body
relax - focus on feeling your toes relax into the bed, then your ankles, how
soft the bed feels as you sink into it, how your legs are heavy as they sink
into the bed - you get the idea working your way up or down your body - I get
about 1/2 way—S
- If possible when your body is telling you to sleep... you know in the
evening when you have to push through to stay awake... go to bed.—MS
- I have a small CD player beside my bed. I put on a relaxing CD and turn
the volume way down so I can hear it, but it's not loud enough to keep me
awake. I find an instrumental is better than something with lyrics. —C
- My tip is no caffeine in the evening. Occasionally my dh will want to stop
at Starbucks on a Saturday evening. If I get a coffee I just cannot stay
asleep. It used to not effect me so much, but it sure does now. I don't like
decaf, so I just no thanks if he wants to stop in the evening.—KM
- I've also tried things like Ovaltine and there are some teas that have
herbs in them that support sleep.—TL
From the HysterSisters Forums
MARCH 1, 2011
What do you do to help yourself fall asleep? What do you do if you wake up and can't get back to sleep?
Join the Discussion
More Discussions to join about sleep:
No Ovaries - Don't Want to Take Estradiol
Post op sleep issues
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MARCH 1, 2011
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