Insomnia can affect anybody at any stage of life but during menopause, when a woman’s ovaries begin producing lower amounts of some hormones - specifically estrogen, progesterone and testosterone - sleepless nights become all the more likely. This phenomenon is often referred to as ‘menopause insomnia’.
Menopause insomnia can manifest as trouble falling asleep, or trouble staying asleep, or both. It is most commonly experienced by women in the year following their last menstrual period - this stretch of time is known as the ‘perimenopause’.
Although menopause insomnia is difficult to cure completely, there are remedies and steps you can take to mitigate its effect and improve the quality of your sleep. Read on to find out how to treat menopause insomnia and enjoy a better night’s sleep.
1. Balance your hormones
If menopause and hormone-dysregulation are causing your insomnia, balancing your hormone levels should help to provide some relief. Your doctor might suggest hormone replacement therapy (HRT), a low dose of birth control either in pill form or in the form of an injection, or a low dose of antidepressant medication. You could also consider taking melatonin or 5-HTP: melatonin is a hormone that helps control your sleep and wake cycles, and 5-HTP is a precursor to serotonin which further aids sleep cycle regulation.
Restoring your body to balance through by a hormone-friendly diet can also be helpful for inducing a better night’s sleep. Helpful foods to focus on include healthy fats from fish, nuts, seeds, plant oils, coconut products and avocados. You should avoid dairy and any non-organic animal products if you’re looking to restore harmony to your hormone levels.
2. Take the right supplements
Ashwagandha is an adaptogen that also goes by the names ‘Indian Ginseng’ and ‘Winter Cherry’. It is a member of the nightshade family of plants, and has been used for centuries by Ayurvedic practitioners to help support people’s sleep-wake cycles and to restore harmony and balance to the endocrine system. The endocrine system is responsible for the production of hormones that regulate reproductive cycles, sleep and mood, among other things.
Ashwagandha is a member of the species ‘somnifera’, or ‘sleep-inducing’ in Latin. It contains something called ‘triethylene glycol’; a compound that’s heavily implicated in transporting sleep signals to the body and brain.
Full spectrum, root extracted, KSM-66® Ashwagandha is the most bioavailable form of this adaptogen, meaning that we are able to absorb all of its myriad benefits efficiently and effectively. KSM-66® is formulated in LYMA at a clinically-backed daily dose of 600mg and has been proven to be supportive in improving up to 22 areas of health, menopause insomnia included.
3. Create a sleep-friendly environment
There are a few steps you can take to promote healthy sleep and reduce the likelihood of insomnia kicking in:
- Turn off all technology an hour before bed and don’t bring phones, laptops or tablets into the bedroom with you. The blue light emitted by these devices can and will wreak havoc with your internal diurnal clock.
- Aim to finish eating at least two hours before you hit the hay as digestion is a protracted affair, the effort of which can lead to trouble falling asleep or interrupted sleep.
- Ditto water. Try to avoid liquids in the hour or so coming up to bedtime. Getting up repeatedly in the night to use the bathroom can be disruptive to your sleep cycle and can prevent you from falling into that all important REM sleep.
- Keep your bedroom clean and tidy and prioritise pastel colours, low lighting and relaxing scents such as lavender.
- Keep your bedroom cool and comfy: get yourself some temperature control linens, ensure that your mattress is fully supportive and that your pillows are the correct height and firmness for your neck.
4. Establish a sleep routine
It’s super important to get your body into a regular routine when it comes to sleep. You’ll see that by repeating behaviours over a certain period of time, your body and mind will subconsciously know that it’s time to sleep and will begin winding down accordingly. You should aim to retire to your bedroom at the same time each night, and to carry out the same routine before bed each evening. Repetition of behaviours will invoke a subliminal sense of your impending snooze. Your routine could be reading for half an hour, enjoying a nightly skincare regimen, doing a meditation or carrying out a journaling or gratitude activity. Whatever works for you and helps you to wind down is fine, just try to make sure that it doesn’t involve a screen.
Menopause can be a really challenging time, but it can also be incredibly liberating. LYMA contains four vital menopause-supporting ingredients that can help you to get you back on track and feeling more confident: KSM-66® Ashwagandha to support sleep as outlined above, Vita-algae D3™ and K2 VITAL® to support bone health, mood and metabolism, and Cognizin® to support brain health and improve focus (a lack of focus being one of the main complaints from women going through menopause). Menopause can - and should - be the time in a woman’s life where she can pause, breathe, reflect, and tune in to what she wants to achieve during the next phase of her life. LYMA is the ultimate supplement to help support you and your health every step of the way.
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The truth about HRT and menopause pharmaceuticals
Bioidentical, body identical or artificial - what type of HRT do you need?
The psychological fallout of the menopause, and how to treat it
The truth about menopause supplements
What to eat pre and post menopause
Originally published Aug 28, 2020.