I can’t sleep!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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Dear Ellen,

I fear my days of sleeping are over!  I am in my mid 50’s and simply can’t seem to get a full night sleep anymore.  Not sleeping is affecting my work, my family, and my life!

                                                                                    Looking forward to hearing you, Jan

Dear Jan,

You are not alone! Sleeplessness can be a real problem for women who are going through menopause. Many experts say it is one of the top five symptoms of menopause. The NSF says most women complain of sleeplessness during perimenopause to post-menopause, with about 61% of post-menopausal women having issues with insomnia. I experienced the exact same thing when I began perimenopause.  Suddenly, I was not sleeping beauty anymore!

Why does menopause affect a woman’s ability to catch her Z’s? According to the National Sleep Foundation (NSF), it has to do with the hormonal changes — estrogen and progesterone — that occur during menopause. A study conducted in 2013 by scientists at the University of California San Francisco found a lack of sleep can put adults at risk for a variety of chronic health issues. And a report published in Harvard University’s Harvard Women’s Health Watch in 2006 says adults who sleep less than six hours a night can suffer from such issues as memory loss, poor cardiovascular health, irritability, and problems with their metabolism and weight.

So, I am so happy you reached out for support. Here are some other helpful tips:

Consult Your Menopause Specialist

If you don’t have one, be sure to find one! Talk to your specialist about taking some hormone tests. I recommend that you fill out my Menopause Symptoms Chart for at least 2 weeks prior to your appointment. This chart will help to explain how you feel – in a quick and easy way! This is a VIP part of what your specialist needs to know in order to create an individual program just for you.

Get Moving

To get a good night’s sleep, you may have to move your body more during the day. Menopausal women who had more leisure physical activity during the day reported rating their sleep as good.  All exercise, ranging from housework to running marathons, has been found to positively impact menopausal symptoms!

Create A Good Sleep Environment

While you are lathering yourself in your latest and greatest wrinkle reducing moisturizer, think about preparing yourself for sleep, too. Before you hit the sack try some tricks to help relax your body and get you in the sleeping mode. For example, do something calming like reading a book while sipping on some chamomile tea, enjoying a candlelight bath, or just closing your eyes and listening to some soft music. As it gets closer to sleep time, prepare your bedroom so there are no distractions — eliminate as much light and sound as possible, and definitely keep your bedroom a smart phone free zone!

Cool Those Flashes

Hot flashes can be another reason why women in menopause have a hard time staying asleep. To help combat the heat, Cleveland Clinic suggests women subject to hot flashes be prepared by wearing loose-fitting clothing to bed and by making sure their sleeping area is well ventilated. BTW, some women find if they cool it on the spicy foods before bed – it helps increase the Z’s!

Consider HRT

Hormones matter! Progesterone is a very important hormone for sleep.  Progesterone levels drop when you enter perimenopause. This happens mainly because ovulation ceases permanently, so the ovaries begin to produce less progesterone, making your body chemically less capable of sleeping well.  Also, an “estrogen-dominant” condition may overly stimulate the brain causing insomnia. An article published in Menopausal Medicine — the journal of the American Society for Reproductive Medicine — says that studies have found HT helped menopausal women with sleeping issues, and helped them get more productive sleep.

You CAN get a good night’s sleep again!  Good luck!

Hugs,

Ellen

After struggling with her own severe menopause symptoms and doing years of research, Ellen resolved to share what she learned from experts and her own trial and error. Her goal was to replace the confusion, embarrassment, and symptoms millions of women go through–before, during, and after menopause–with the medically sound solutions she discovered. Her passion to become a “sister” and confidant to all women fueled Ellen’s first book, Shmirshky: the pursuit of hormone happiness. As a result of the overwhelming response from her burgeoning audiences and followers’ requests for empowering information they could trust, Ellen’s weekly blog, Menopause MondaysTM, was born.