Menopause and Insomnia
By Cathy Taylor
Insomnia is a very common symptom reported by numerous women at the onset of menopause. It is characterized by
sleepless nights and often uncomfortable sleep such as tossing and turning in an effort to get comfortable. If you
are primarily a mentally active person, it can become very difficult to calm the mind. You feel restless and
irritable. Welcome to the change of life.
Insomniacs sleep is chock-full of waking up at frequent times during the night, waking up too early, and light
sleep where the ticking of a hand clock may jolt you awake. This condition occurs during menopause because it is a
side-effect of other menopausal symptoms like hot flashes and general physical and mental discomfort. When your
body is dealing with night sweats, it’s easy to have your sleep interrupted, which makes it even more difficult to
be sharp and at your best during the day. Consuming stress-inducing foods loaded with things such as caffeine can
further stimulate tension, so it is important to maintain a caffeine-free diet. Avoid drinking coffee as late in
the day as possible. Do not over stimulate your nervous system. Release tension by learning hatha yoga postures or
how to breath deeply and mediate. Try altering your sleep arrangements. If you find that your pillow is not soft
enough, or maybe it’s too elevated for your head, make adjustments. If you find that the polyester blankets you’re
lying on does not relax the contours of your body – switch them. It takes effort to accommodate these changes and
make yourself as comfortable as possible.
Exercise also preps the body for restful sleep. Scientific studies suggest eating fat loaded foods are not
recommended before bedtime. So a steady, healthy is a great plus. Insomnia can be treated by consuming foods that
increase the serotonin levels in your brain so that your body relaxes. Serotonin is responsible for aiding with
sleep by calming your brain. Drink a glass of warm milk before bedtime to help calm your nerves.
There are many causes for insomnia that stem from menopause. Depression is characteristic of this transition and
can negatively influence your sleep. Decreasing estrogen levels can cause the on-set of depressive symptoms. In the
menstrual cycle, ovulation causes progesterone (which has soothing effects on the mind and body) to be released.
Irregular cycles may cause anxiety to build-up, as a result of the lack of this ¨happy hormone.¨ For some people,
taking melatonin is enough to get a restful night. For others, a prescription sleeping pill is necessary. Some
women swear by black cohosh to help with body flushes as well as natural sources of progesterone.
In any case, it is important to consult with your doctor in order to decide together what treatment is best for
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