Your Sleep Problems and Menopause Could be Connected
Article By: Michael J Breus Ph.D.
Article By: Michael J Breus Ph.D.
Experiencing Menopause or Perimenopause and Can’t Sleep?
From broken sleep cycles to night sweats and even excessive sleep if you or someone you know is going through menopause, you know how uncomfortable symptoms can lead to a lack of sleep.
But what if I told you that one of the most popular treatments–hormone replacement therapy–may not be the most effective for improving your sleep?
I’ll tell you why addressing mental health issues, with the help of a few natural remedies, may be the solution so many are ignoring–and how you can treat your menopause symptoms and sleep better tonight.
Isn’t hormone replacement therapy the best treatment for my sleep and menopause problems?
Hormone replacement therapy and other medications all have some promise for treating nagging symptoms of menopause, but not without risks.
Previous research suggested that hormone replacement therapy, especially estrogen replacement, helps women fall asleep faster, decreases night time awakenings, and improves sleep quality.
But hormone replacement therapy also has been shown to act as an antidepressant by interacting with serotonin in the brain.
What’s the connection between mental health and poor sleep during menopause?
We’ve known for a long time that menopause can interfere with sleep, and most advice has been to focus on the physical symptoms.
Many women treat the physical symptoms of menopause, only to continue struggling with night time awakenings, insomnia, and other sleep disturbances, even with helpful sleep boosting supplements.
Depression and sleep disorders, we know, are linked, but what we’ve ignored for too long is the prevalence of depression during menopause. Menopause transition includes not just physical, but also emotions changes, which research suggests could put women at a greater risk for depression.
How do I treat menopause sleep issues without HRT?
Your lack of energy and insomnia may be related to a mood disorder, either brought on by menopause, or made worse by it. That’s especially true if you’ve already tried natural sleep supplements.
Menopause means major life changes, and that can be hard to adapt to. For many, menopause can bring negative outlooks, added stress–all during what’s still a busy time of life. When we get stressed, feel out of control, or look at changes in a negative way, we’re more likely to cope in unhealthy ways.
Exciting new research suggests that specific lifestyle changes may be as effective for managing menopause as hormone replacement therapy.
Start Your Day Right
Adopting a healthy morning routine may help address both the emotional and physical issues linked to menopause and sleep disruption.
Add 15 of natural sunlight and light exercise as a way to boost your energy.
Adopt a Positive Mindset
One of my first keys to consider for menopause related mood and sleep issues is to start challenging negative thoughts and stereotypes about menopause.
Healthy Nighttime Distractions
Healthy distractions, especially if your mind races at night are powerful. Listening to soft music, talking with loved ones, and breathing or yoga, establish a positive night time routine that can help take the focus away from worries related to life changing to staying more present in the moment.
Retrain with Gratitude
Menopause can leave anyone feeling drained, but sometimes it takes resetting from a negative to positive outlook. A gratitude journal helps train your brain to focus more on empowering things, and all the good things that come with getting older.
Stay in Touch
Reaching out to friends and family, even if you have to do so virtually, is a way to discuss and cope with life changes and depression. While it can be hard to stop yourself from isolating when you feel depressed or just sleep deprived, scheduling it in or letting a partner know what you’re going through can be a constant reminder that you have support.
Replace Coping Methods
Changes in physical health, but also life circumstances can lead us to rely on short term fixes that only make sleep disturbances worse.
Try Mind-Body Therapies
During menopause transition, it’s especially important to honor your mental and physical health. One of the best ways to do that is mind-body therapies for sleep and menopause, which include: acupuncture, yoga, massage, and tai chi.
Find the Next Best Alternative
Drinking a cup of soothing herbal tea instead of smoking, and reaching out to a friend for a chat or walk instead of drinking can help, while under the guidance of professional help.
Try Natural Supplements
In the past, I’ve stressed the use of natural sleep supplements for managing the physical symptoms of menopause but natural supplements may improve your mood and depressive symptoms too.
As always, you should consult a doctor before taking any new vitamins or mineral.
Sleep Well, Be Well,
Dr. Michael Breus