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How can foods help me to sleep better during menopause?

Dr. Jeanne Morrison, PhD
Family Practitioner

To help with sleeplessness during menopause, limit caffeine and alcohol at night. There may also be hot flash triggers such as spicy foods that you may want to avoid before bedtime. Also, a light snack of cereal with skim milk may help you fall sleep more quickly. If you aren't hungry, a cool glass of milk may help you ease into sleep.

Dr. Mehmet Oz, MD
Cardiologist (Heart Specialist)

What you eat has a dramatic effect on your body during menopause—including your sleep. A few tweaks to your diet may eliminate the need for sleep aids or menopause hormone replacement therapy (MHT) and could be the last piece in your healthy sleep puzzle.

For example, a Mayo Clinic study found that flaxseed might help treat hot flashes. Try adding 4 tablespoons of crushed flaxseed a day to your cereal, juice or yogurt. Flaxseed also contains heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids. It's important to note that studies vary in effectiveness of dietary phytoestrogens for vasomotor symptoms.

Another little-known cause of insomnia is anemia, or iron deficiency. Many people with restless legs syndrome suffer from insomnia, and iron deficiency has been associated with this syndrome. If you suspect you may be anemic, eat more dark, leafy green vegetables, like spinach and collard greens. These foods are also rich in chlorophyll, which is thought to improve sleep. Other iron-rich foods include red meat, egg yolks, dried fruit, beans, liver and artichokes.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.