Menopause brings intense hormonal, physical, and psychological changes to a woman’s body. One of those changes is insomnia, a condition that can cause forgetfulness, difficulty concentrating, irritability, headaches, clumsiness, gastrointestinal issues, and anxiety or depression. The good news is that insomnia is treatable, so learn more as you prepare to get better rest.
Signs of Insomnia During Menopause
You may have insomnia if you experience these common signs.
- Can’t fall asleep within 30 minutes
- Sleep fewer than six hours most nights
- Wake earlier than normal
- Feel tired upon waking or during the day
- Wake with a rapid heart rate
- Experience vivid dreams
- Worry about sleep
Causes of Insomnia During Menopause
Hormonal changes contribute heavily to insomnia during menopause. At this time, your ovaries produce less estrogen and progesterone. These hormones regulate your sleep cycle, body temperature, and other related functions. With hormonal fluctuations, you’re more likely to experience sleep disruptions.
11 Tips to Manage Insomnia During Menopause
There is no cure for insomnia during menopause, but you can practice these 11 solutions.
1. Cool off your bedroom. Lower the thermostat to 65 degrees, invest in cooling cotton sheets, keep a cold pack nearby, and turn on a fan. You may also wear lightweight pajamas, moisture-wicking exercise clothes, or sleep in the nude.
2. Follow sleep hygiene. Create a relaxing bedtime routine. Then, set and keep a daily sleep and awake time. Also, avoid electronic screens before bed, turn off the lights, use earplugs or white noise, and reserve your bedroom for sleep and sex only.
3. Exercise or move outdoors during the day. Natural light, vitamin D, and movement can help you sleep better at night.
4. Tweak your dietary habits. Limit heavy, fatty nighttime meals, spicy foods, alcohol, and caffeine at night.
5. Nap wisely. If you do need a nap during the day, keep it to 20 minutes or less in the early afternoon.
6. Listen to your internal clock. As your body’s sleep-wake cycle changes with age, adjust your routine. It’s okay to set an earlier bedtime or awake time if that improves your sleep quality.
7. Engage in cognitive behavioral therapy for insomnia (CBT-I or CBTI). This tool helps you manage everyday stressors and the thoughts, feelings, and behaviors that contribute to your sleep difficulties.
8. Relax progressively. Starting with your toes and working your way to your head, relax each part of your body until you fall asleep.
9. Treat sleep apnea. The sleep disorder may stem from weight fluctuations and a decrease in your body’s progesterone production.
10. Take medication. Low-dose antidepressants, low-dose birth control, some selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), and hormone replacement therapy may relieve insomnia during menopause. Discuss the pros and cons of medication with your doctor.
11. Stay positive. Menopause is temporary. Hooray! Also, you can use the overnight awake time to read, listen to podcasts, connect online with other women, or enjoy quiet time alone.
Talk to Your Doctor About Insomnia During Menopause
In addition to these 11 solutions, talk to your doctor. Review your sleep history and specific health concerns, and pinpoint the contributing factors to your insomnia. Then follow your doctor-recommended treatment plan. You can find relief from insomnia during menopause and get a better night’s sleep.