Menopause Mondays: Sleepless in Menopause

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menopause sleep

Are you sleeping? If not, you might need to get some help. You do not need to spend the rest of your life exhausted!

According to 2008 study done by researchers at the University of Arizona College of Nursing sleep deprivation is the one of the biggest problem for women entering menopause.  As hormone levels begin to decline many women experience hot flashes that result in sleepless nights.   According to the National Sleep Foundation (2009) this will affect 40% of menopausal women.

Many women lie awake at night, soaking wet from night sweats and hot flashes, staring at the ceiling! Others are not awakened by hot flashes or night sweats, they are just simply wide-awake for no obvious reason.  I recently received an email from a reader entitled “sleepless” – she told me that she feels as though she is on the grave shift and she is never-ever going to sleep again.

So what’s a woman to do?

1. First of all, you are not alone, nor are you losing your mind.  There are over 50 million women in menopause in North America.  If you add the women in perimenopause (the 6-10 years before your reach menopause) and then add their husbands, lovers, children & co-workers, there are 150 million people touched by menopause. I myself, know just how you feel.  I was up all hours of the night!  I found myself going on late night shopping sprees buying all kinds of crazy things like knives that would make my vegetables look like flowers and face creams that would miraculously make all of my wrinkles vanish. The only thing vanishing was my money and my joy!

2. Trust how you feel.  You know when you are not feeling good.  You know when you are not sleeping.  So, do not pretend to be “fine.” Instead, be proactive about getting the proper help you deserve. In addition, to sleeplessness, there are over 30 symptoms of perimenopause and menopause. This is why I created my Menopause Symptoms Chart.  Instead of staring at the wall or e-shopping up a storm, take a few minutes and start filling out this chart.  This chart will help your doctor understand how you feel.  Be honest, when you fill out the chart (besides, you are not fooling anyone if you don’t mark down any symptoms!) Lack of sleep results in one thing: an unhappy, grumpy, depressed, and exhausted -you! If you are feeling like a total bitchface and your family thinks you need an exorcism, chances are you also would prefer to mop your kitchen floor instead of going to bed with your lover, because your libido has crashed as well.

3. Do not hide your vagina under a bush!  Get the help you deserve. Find a perimenopause and menopause specialist!  This may not be the doctor who delivered your babies, but he or she might have a good recommendation for you.  This is uber important!  In addition, to eating well and exercising, ask your perimenopause and menopause specialist to check your hormone levels, thyroid, calcium, vitamin D levels, and other relevant tests.   These tests, together with your filled out Menopause Symptoms Chart will help your specialist create an individualized program just for you.  You can find hormone happiness! I did! I loved the movie Sleepless in Seattle, but there is nothing romantic about sleepless in menopause!

Remember:  Reaching out is IN!  Suffering in silence is OUT!


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.