Insomnia and Menopause

Theres nothing like a poor nights sleep to make you feel less like yourself. Insomnia may be one complaint on a long list of many uncomfortable symptoms menopausal women endure, but lack of sleep is one symptom that can be particularly annoying.

Menopausal women already have to deal with so many bodily changes that may leave them exhausted; not being able to get quality sleep adds insult to injury.

Menopausal women can experience any combination of forms of insomnia. Some women arent able to fall asleep; other women fall asleep but then wake up at inopportune hours. Other women have no trouble falling asleep and staying asleep, but then wake up simply feeling as though they didnt get enough rest. There are some menopausal women lucky enough to not experience any form of insomnia, because if there is one simple truth about menopause its that it is different for every woman.

Night Sweats

Many are quick to blame the dropping estrogen levels for menopausal insomnia but there can be other culprits, some tied to estrogen levels and some not. Night sweats, which are a product of menopause, can be the cause of a woman not getting a restful nights sleep. Restless leg syndrome can also be to blame for a poor nights sleep.

Another reason, which often goes unchecked, is a possible issue with depression or anxiety. After all, menopause can be a particularly stressful time in a womans life, and if she is unable to deal with all the emotions tied to this transitional period it may manifest itself into insomnia. Any feelings of depression or anxiety need to be discussed with a health care professional.

Treatment

What can be done about menopausal insomnia? If the cause of insomnia cannot be pinpointed to something treatable (as in restless leg syndrome) then broader remedies may be employed. The old adage of establishing a sleep routine must be mentioned, because as simplistic as this sounds it may bring great relief to someone wrestling with sleeplessness.

A good sleep routine involves not using your bed for reading or watching television, trying to go to sleep and wake up at the same time every day, and avoid drinks with caffeine in the evening. Caffeine can be tricky, as it oftentimes shows up in unexpected places. Chocolate has caffeine, as do some medications, so indulging in a piece of chocolate pie or popping a headache medicine may be sabotaging a good nights sleep.

Sometimes a sleep routine isnt enough. Relaxation techniques may be beneficial if the issue is a racing mind when trying to doze off. One classic example is systematically relaxing each part of the body, starting with the toes and ending all the way up to the top of the head.

Many people find that they have fallen asleep before completing the entire exercise. Finding a way to shut off the days worries before attempting to sleep can help too, especially for those women who find that bedtime is the time when their minds start racing.

Laying down to sleep in not the time to review the passing day, and it is certainly not the best time to think about all the things that need to be accomplished in the following day. A quiet mind is much more apt to welcome slumber than a busy mind.

If a sleep routine or relaxation techniques bring no relief then it may be time to head to the doctors office. If there is no underlying cause for the sleeping problems then the doctor may want to discuss the possibility of sleeping pills or herbal supplements designed to help prevent insomnia in menopausal women.

Both of these remedies are common for menopausal women, and many are designed to work well with whatever other therapies are already being utilized. Even though there is no prescription needed for herbal remedies they can still have risks and contraindications with current medications, and this is why a health care professional is the best person to consult.

Take comfort in the fact that most menopausal symptoms, including insomnia, eventually fade away. Until that time, use whatever method works best to get a good nights sleep, and if all else fails there is always counting sheep.