By Dr. Elina Pfaffenbach

If you are a woman around the ages of 45-55 and having trouble sleeping at night, menopause might be to blame. Having trouble sleeping at night, also known as insomnia, is very common for women around menopausal age. Menopause is defined as the stage of life after a woman has not had a menstrual cycle for twelve months.

The reason a woman may experience insomnia during menopause is the result of hormonal changes. When going through menopause, a woman’s body gradually decreases the production of estrogen and progesterone. Hormone shifts can be an uncomfortable process.

Fortunately, there are a few things a woman can do to encourage a good night’s rest during this stage of life.

  1. Sleep environment can play a big part in getting a good night’s rest. Be sure to keep the room dark, and if sounds inhibit sleep, try using a white noise machine. Set the thermostat a few degrees colder at night, this will also help if night sweats are a problem, another common symptom of menopause.
  2. Avoid caffeine and alcohol in the evening. Both of these disrupt a good night’s sleep, try chamomile tea or warm milk and honey instead.
  3. There are over the counter supplements and medications that can help like melatonin, Tylenol PM and Unisom. For extreme cases, a doctor may recommend hormone therapy to help with insomnia. Hormone therapy uses synthetic hormones to help bring some hormonal balance back to the body during menopause. This may be in the form of a pill, skin patch and/or topical creams.

Just remember, the symptoms of menopause are temporary and if any of these symptoms sound like something you are dealing with, we can help. Give your Women’s Health Specialists doctor a call at (920) 749-4000 to set up an appointment.