Menopause and Sleep

How is your menopause sleep? Are you going through menopause and can’t sleep? You’re not alone. Menopause is a time of major hormonal shifts that influence women both physically and mentally potentially causing havoc on sleep. Menopausal symptoms vary dramatically from woman to woman from perimenopause to post menopause. Sleep issues are common, with sleep disorders affecting around 40% of perimenopausal women and up to 60% of postmenopausal women. If you are one of them this won’t come as a surprise, you’ll know how debilitating interrupted and poor sleep is. Find out why this happens and how poor menopause sleep has implications for your overall health. Learn what you can do about disturbed menopause sleep to get your energy back and protect your health.


The Statistics are alarming

  • Sleeping less than 7 hours a night –  32% premenopause  56% in perimenopause  40% postmenopause
  • Trouble falling asleep four times or more a week – 16.8% premenopause 27% of postmenopause
  • Difficulty staying asleep four times or more a week –  24% premenopause 33% postmenopause
  • Wake in the morning feeling tired not rested, four or more days in a week – 48% premenopause women 52% postmenopause

Why does this happen?

Menopause sleep problems are a sign of the hormonal changes, accompanying symptoms also contribute to a disturbed night. Menopause signifies a decline in a woman’s sex hormones that work together to regulate a woman’s reproductive cycle. What is not so well known is the effect of sex hormones on mood, energy, memory, emotions, and sleep! Other symptoms like hot flushes, night sweats, stress, and the need to pee in the night also contribute! Also being sleep deprived has an effect on mood and energy all compunding the situation.

Hormones that protect Sleep   

In perimenopause oestrogen and progesterone are on a rollercoaster and this means it be difficult to get to sleep and stay asleep. Oestrogen protects a brain chemical called serotonin known as the happy hormone. It also supports higher quality sleep which in turn will improve mood and mental activity.

At menopause lower oestrogen can cause a cycle of poor sleep and motivation. We know that anxiety and depression is detrimental to sleep. What’s more a low mood can lead to a lack of motivation and energy.

Progesterone is known as a sleep-promoting “feel good” hormone, which when stable promotes calm, helping relaxation and aiding sleep. So low and erratic progesterone can bring about anxiety, restlessness, and trouble sleeping with a tendency to wake frequently during the night.


Stress impacts sleep at any time of life and we are often burdened with lots of responsibilities around menopause. As we learnt this will be magnified at menopause due to the direct effects of hormones on our mood and sleep. We will be more prone to feeling anxious and worried. However, cortisol the stress hormone works in opposition to melatonin which is why we be wide awake worrying and exhausted yet unable to sleep!

Hot Flushes and Night Sweats

These surges of heat that occur at night are known as night sweats. The rise in body temperature and blood flow creates heat and sweating that often causes women to wake up. The need to change clothes and then often feeling cold again makes it difficult to get a good night’s sleep. Night Sweats also raise our stress hormones, making it harder to fall back asleep. Even if you manage to fall back to sleep quickly, frequently waking up will affect sleep quality.

What’s a good sleep?

Quality sleep is more important than quantity; it’s the ability to fall asleep and stay asleep as well as having deeper levels of sleep. So, it’s not as simple as just going to bed early. Insomnia increases at menopause and is determined by both a dissatisfaction with sleep, difficulty falling asleep and staying asleep more than 3 nights a week. All of which interferes with daily life. If this is you do see your doctor who can rule out other medical sleep problems like sleep apnoea.

Good sleep is crucial to health. Sleeplessness has implications increasing inflammation and risk of other diseases like heart disease, diabetes. There are links between sleep the immune system and hormones which lead to this you can read more here on sleep and autoimmune

Things to avoid

  • Exercising late in the day raises cortisol that compete with melatonin the sleep hormone.
  • Alcohol as it messes with blood sugar giving you restless sleep.
  • Large meals, and spicy or acidic foods before bedtime, they may trigger hot flushes.
  • Nicotine and caffeine especially in the late afternoon and early evening.
  • Blue light from laptops TV and phones 2 hours before bed so your natural sleep hormone can work well. If you must invest in glasses to protect you or use blue light settings after dusk.
  • Avoid napping during the day, especially for longer than 20 minutes, as that can interfere with your ability to sleep at night.

Things to include

  • Getting outdoors sunlight supports melatonin the sleep hormone.
  • Maintain a healthy weight as higher body weights are associated with OSA, and women tend to gain weight after menopause.
  • Go to the loo immediately before going to bed to avoid night trips to toilet. Stop drinking all liquids a few hours before bedtime.
  • Reduce stress as much as possible as anxious and stressful thoughts can keep you up at night, making it harder to fall asleep. Regular massage, exercise, and mindfulness can help.
  • Develop a bedtime routine that relaxes you, for example,  take a bath, listen to music, or read.
  • Learn some relaxation techniques, such as meditation or deep breathing, so you can relax easier at bedtime.
  • Develop a routine for falling back asleep if you wake up. Aim to stay in bed with the lights off and avoid doing anything that will wake you up further. Like your phone or TV.
  • Keep a change of clothes and a glass of water nearby.
  • Dress in lightweight night wear to stay cool at night, try moisture-wicking exercise clothes.
  • Check your bedcovers are not too hot or cold and change bedding for cooler fabrics including your pillow.
  • Keep your bedroom temperature comfortably cool by using a fan to further cool the air and increase circulation.
  • Follow a regular sleep schedule, going to bed and waking up at the same time every day.


A Good Night’s Sleep.

To support our menopause sleep we need to be proactive with our sleep hygiene. It means having a good routine at bedtime and avoiding the things that trigger sleeplessness. Above all don’t panic if you wake up just follow your plan to help you fall back asleep, stressing will not help. Remember some sleep is better that no sleep and worrying about going back to sleep is counterproductive. Also some may resort to supplements which may help short term. However putting these practices in place first will have a positive and lasting effect on your sleep, mood, relationships and wellbeing. Supplements are only recommended when properly tailored to you and your medications.

Find your menopause mojo with a customised health plan. Together we’ll discover and implement the right food and way of life suited to your uniqueness.






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Zolfaghari S, Yao C, Thompson C, Gosselin N, Desautels A, Dang-Vu TT, Postuma RB, Carrier J. Effects of menopause on sleep quality and sleep disorders: Canadian Longitudinal Study on Aging. Menopause. 2020 Mar;27(3):295-304. doi: 10.1097/GME.0000000000001462. PMID: 31851117.