Insomnia is one of the most common symptoms women experience in Surgical Menopause. At first, it may not appear to be a chronic issue, as we have all experienced a sleepless night now and again, but if you notice that getting a good night’s sleep has become a nightly battle, you are probably dealing with insomnia.
Insomnia for women in Surgical menopause usually presents itself as the difficulty falling asleep, staying asleep, and sleep interruptions due to symptoms such as hot flashes or more frequent trips to use the bathroom. This ongoing lack of sleep can lead to both psychological effects like depression, but it can also take a toll on your physical health as adult women need between 7 and 9 hours of sleep per night to restore their bodies and keep up their immune function.
Insomnia in surgically induced menopause is linked to declining hormone levels so the key to getting back to a good night’s sleep usually lies in getting ones hormone levels raised with the use of HRT, along with integrating healthy bedtime rituals and, when needed, sleep aids.
HRT and Sleep: When hormone levels are too low we not only experience the symptoms of Surgical Menopause such as hot flashes, cold sweats and the urgency to go to the bathroom more often, but we also have fewer hours of quality sleep. HRT is typically the best defense against insomnia, because hormones play a crucial role in our sleep. Progesterone is the hormone that helps you fall asleep, as it is a natural sleep aid. Even women who do not have medical need for taking progesterone, such as those ladies who have had their uterus removed, still benefit from the soporific effect of taking nightly progesterone. Estrogen, on the other hand, is the hormone that helps you stay asleep with fewer interruptions and increases the amount of quality REM sleep that one gets. Estrogen reduces hot flashes, vaginal symptoms that can lead to a frequency of urination. It is important to keep in mind for women on HRT who are still experiencing bad insomnia, it is most likely a sign that the dose you are on is too low for your needs and it may be a good idea to discuss this with your doctor. As you can see HRT plays an important role in overcoming insomnia.
Tips For Treating Insomnia in Surgical Menopause:
1. Limit screen time 2 hours before bed. Screen time has a stimulating effect on the brain.
2. Do not eat two hours before you go to sleep. Digestion and stomach issues related to eating such as acid reflux and upset stomach can keep you up at night.
3. Avoid alcohol, nicotine, chocolate and other known stimulants in the hours before bed.
4. Practice 10-15 minute meditations , prayers, or restful yoga poses prior as par of your bedtime ritual.
5. Make sure the room is cool with either an air conditioner or fan unit running. It is much healthier and easier to stay asleep in a cooler room rather than a warm one. You can keep a cotton blanket at the end of your bed for if you experience body temperature changes in the night.
6. Avoid reading stimulating articles and books right before bed as it can send your brain into overdrive.
7. Wear breathable or light garments to sleep in if you wear pajamas, as body temperature changes are common in Surgical Menopause.
8. Take the natural sleep supplements Melatonin (5mg) or Magnesium (300 mg) 20-30 minutes before bed.
9. Diffuse or rub essential oils into the soles of your feet, behind your ears or back of the neck before bed, some essential oils that are good for sleep include: Lavender, Vetiver, Roman Chamomile, Bergamot, Marjoram, Sandalwood, Cedarwood, and Ylang Ylang.
10. Consider a prescription sleep aid. When all else fails consult with your doctor about using a prescription sleep aid such as Zolpidem (Ambien, Edluar, Intermezzo, Zolpimist), Temazepam (Restoril), Triazolam (Halcion), or Zaleplon (Sonata). We recommend if you need to turn to this form of treatment that you only use prescription sleep aids for the short term or when needed, as many are highly addictive and difficult to quit.