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Diseases & Conditions > Menopause

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Insomnia & Menopause

Sheryl Kraft

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If a good night’s sleep is more like a dream, join the ranks of many other menopausal women who are suffering from insomnia. When hormones begin to roller-coaster- which can be as early as your 30s and 40s (that’s perimenopause time) - the wild ride of sleeplessness can begin.

Insomnia affects your whole being and plays havoc with your sense of humor, your coping mechanisms, your tolerance for pain and stress, your brain’s ability to focus, your immune system. It’s the plague of menopausal women everywhere.

The Forces at Work

Hormonal changes. Estrogen and progesterone is fluctuating. And since progesterone is a sleep-promoting hormone, this ratio shift can contribute to insomnia. Add to that falling levels of estrogen, which can make it more challenging to cope with other factors that get in the way of a good night’s sleep, like stress, anxiety and overall well-being.

Depression and mood swings. About 20 percent of all women deal with these emotions during menopause. A change or shift in mood can is known to interfere with sleep quality.

Hot flashes/night sweats. Have you tried sleeping uninterrupted while you’re sweating bullets? It’s likely you haven’t succeeded very well. Not only is your body dripping and you need to change your soaked bedclothes and/or sheets, but these heat surges can also make adrenaline surge, in turn waking your brain from slumber.

Life itself. No doubt there’s a lot going on during this time of life…like dealing with children, aging parents, relationship issues, job pressures. Add it all up and there’s no surprise your sleep might suffer.

5 Easy Ways to Manage Menopausal Insomnia

We all have our different tips and tricks; often what works for one person might not necessarily work for you. Take a look at the suggestions below and hopefully you’ll find one or two that will help you stay in lala land for more than just a few hours. Because sleep is more important than you ever could have dreamed.

Progressive Muscle Relaxation. The method has been around for a very long time, and that’s because it works. By systematically tensing and relaxing all the muscle groups in your body, it promotes overall physical relaxation and relieve insomnia.

White Noise. By blocking distracting outside noises and producing soothing sounds, this “sound cocoon” can help you relax and in turn, induce sleep.

A dark room. Since light inhibits the production of melatonin, which you need to sleep and your body is programmed to sleep when it’s dark, blocking out any light will help.

CBT. This type of therapy, also known as cognitive behavioral therapy, is an approved non-pharmaceutical method for treating insomnia. It works by changing habits and misconceptions about sleep and insomnia. Read more about it here.

A cool room. Like darkness, lower temperatures stimulate sleep-inducing melatonin. Ideal temperatures for sleep are between 60- and 68-degrees Fahrenheit.

Sleep and sex only. That’s what experts agree your bedroom should be limited to, encouraging people with insomnia to get up and go to another room to do something else until they’re sleepy enough to return to bed.

Prepare yourself. Avoid a large meal, tobacco and/or alcohol too close to bedtime and wind down with relaxing activities like reading or a warm bath. Avoid lights from electronic devices, which can interfere with sleep.

Speak up. Speak with your health care provider to learn more about hormone replacement therapy, which may help you get a better night’s sleep.

If you would like to speak to a doctor about hormone therapy treatment options, click here.

Download a complimentary Symptom Tracker here!