How can I get a good night's sleep if I am menopausal?

While there's no one-size-fits-all solution to menopausal sleep issues, just knowing what the alternatives are can help you rest better (or at least anticipate a good night's sleep):

  • hormone replacement therapy (HRT)
  • phytoestrogens in over-the-counter nutritional products such as black cohosh, extract of red clover and ginseng
  • sleep-promoting medication 

Not for you? There's a lot more to try:

  • Temperature: The ideal sleeping temperature is about 65 degrees Fahrenheit. 
  • Caffeine: Avoid caffeine after 2 p.m. Caffeine has a half-life of six hours, meaning that six hours after your last cup, half the caffeine is still in your body.
  • Alcohol: Avoid alcohol within three hours of bedtime. Rather than being a sedative, alcohol is a central nervous system suppressant and becomes a stimulant in quantities.
  • Block out light: Keep your bedroom as dark as possible; wear an eye mask if you must. Even those LED lights from your alarm clock are strong enough to seep through your thin eyelids and disrupt your sleep.
  • Dress for success: Wear loose-fitting, breathable garments, like cotton. Or nothing at all.
  • Nix the electronics: Computers, TV, iPads, etc., are all sleep-stealers. Aside from stimulating your brain, the blue light they emit can interfere with a solid night's sleep.
  • Eat right: A bedtime snack high in carbohydrates but low in protein (like whole grain crackers with some peanut or almond butter) speeds the amino acid tryptophan to the brain, which in turn is converted to serotonin (a sleep-inducing neurotransmitter). 
  • Exercise (and if you do, exercise more): A study published in the journal Menopause says that higher levels of routine daily physical activity may be a key to a better night's sleep for menopausal women with hot flashes or night sweats. Most experts, however, recommend completing vigorous exercise at least three hours before bedtime because it can stimulate your heart, brain and muscles, as well as raise your body temperature.

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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.