Menopause and insomnia: how to treat it

August 11, 2020 5 mins read
Menopause and insomnia: how to treat it

If you have tried different remedies to cure your menopause insomnia, but nothing has worked to cure your sleeplessness, consider giving natural remedies a chance. Natural options may surprise you in their effectiveness to induce sleep and promote overall wellbeing.

In this article, we outline a few remedies and advice to help you sleep better when you’re going through menopause.

Is insomnia linked to menopause?

Insomnia is a sleep disorder in which you have trouble falling and/or staying asleep. Many factors around lifestyle changes can bring on insomnia, and one of them is your age. Your risk of insomnia increases as you age, especially if you’re a woman over the age of 60.

During menopause, you will start to experience declining levels of estrogen and progesterone that can often have an impact on your sleeping patterns, most often causing menopause insomnia.

As most women will experience some sleeping problems during menopause, this can vary in severity from one woman to another.

What are the symptoms of menopausal insomnia?

Insomnia brought on by menopause can affect your health in several ways. These are the most common symptoms of menopausal insomnia:

  • Sweating brought on by hot flashes
  • Hot flashes, a decrease in body temperature causing night sweats
  • Sleep apnea, frequent loss of breath which leads to snoring and disrupted sleep
  • Poor sleeping experience, caused by changing hormone levels making it difficult to fall asleep and stay asleep
  • Poor quality of sleep (non-restorative) due to disruptive body changes
  • Sleepiness/fatigue during the day
  • Mood changes, anxiety, irritability and stress
  • Lack of focus brought on by memory loss and lack of motivation
  • Problems with a sense of wellbeing when the brain is not able to rejuvenate the mental restorative stage of sleep
  • Minor health disturbances like headaches and gastrointestinal issues

Common causes of insomnia during menopause

Changing hormones

Menopause decreases the production of two main hormones, estrogen and progesterone. This can bring on many changes to your body’s function, particularly to your sleeping habits.

Progesterone is your main sleep-producing hormone, which plays a part in regulating our sleep cycles and estrogen controls your body’s temperature, which causes night sweats. These are the key changes in your body’s hormones that may affect your sleeping patterns.

Hot flashes/night sweats

As your hormone levels fluctuate, you may feel as if you’re having sudden rises and falls in your body temperature. These sweeps of adrenalin are caused by a rapid decrease of hormones, creating hot flashes and night sweats. These are the two of the most common side effects of menopause and can make it difficult to have a restful sleep.

Medications

As it’s common to seek sleep-enhancing medications when you have menopausal insomnia, it’s important to note that just as your body’s natural chemical and hormonal changes can interfere with sleep, so can change in medication.

Even though there is an abundance of information about recommended supplements and remedies to make the transition into menopause easier, sleep disturbances can be a side effect of many medications.

So what can you do to relieve the symptoms naturally? Right in the comfort of your own home, you can find natural ways to get a good night’s rest.

Remedies for menopausal insomnia

Discover ten different methods to get to sleep, ranging from cultivating mindfulness, exercise, body massages and yoga to drinking herbal tea.

  1. Keep a healthy exercise routine, but be sure to avoid vigorous exercise close to bedtime.
  2. Maintain a healthy diet. Try to eat more foods that are rich in soy with plenty of lean protein, green vegetables, and complex carbohydrates as this might minimize hot flashes. Be sure to eat early in the evening and ideally don’t eat after 6 pm.
  3. Sleep in lightweight clothes. Avoid heavy, insulating blankets, keep your room cool and increase circulation to alleviate the discomfort that can be brought on by hot flashes and night sweats.
  4. Reduce your stress. Manage small life stresses with relaxation techniques, like getting a massage, or journaling.
  5. Try herbal remedies. Drink herbal teas such as chamomile, jasmine or lavender, which is known to help relax the body and mind to induce sleep.
  6. Avoid all caffeine. Not just at night but during the day as well.
  7. Avoid alcohol. If you are experiencing more frequent sleepless nights, cut down on your alcohol intake and/or any stimulants that could be contributing to poor sleep.
  8. Keep a comfortable bedroom environment. Ensure your mattress is firm and giving your body enough support. Some women even recommend sleeping on silk bed linen as silk has heat regulating properties and can keep you cool when you’re experiencing hot flashes and night sweats.
  9. Adopt a good sleep routine. Introduce a regular sleeping ritual each evening to help set the tone for good sleep.
  10. Unplug. Turn off all devices, and avoid stimulating or thought-provoking information that could keep your mind awake.

Adapting your bedtime routine

Adapting to your body’s changes while it is going through the transition of menopause can also mean that you might have to adapt to a new bedtime routine. Keeping consistent sleep hygiene habits and by making small changes to your lifestyle could assist in alleviating some of the problems brought on by menopausal insomnia.

If you are still struggling with menopause insomnia, your doctor may prescribe temporary medicine to help you sleep and rule out any other conditions that may be causing your sleepless nights. At the end of the day, and no matter your age, good quality sleep is key to long-term health.