One of the most severe symptoms of perimenopause and menopause for me was insomnia. I had never been a good sleeper and it just became worse as I approached menopause. Insomnia is one of the most debilitating symptoms of menopause, in my opinion.
At first, I tried valerian, wanting to go the natural route, but after a while, even with higher doses, it just did not work for me anymore.
I then tried over the counter sleeping tablets which did the trick at first. The only thing was the ‘hangover’ the next day. This was an awful feeling of low energy and lethargy. I was not quite sure what was worse, the tiredness due to lack of sleep or the hangover if I took the sleeping tablets!
I did try different over the counter meds, but in the end, they were not sustainable and I did not feel good.
At one point, I thought if I had a couple of glasses of wine before bed, that I may be able to sleep better. That worked for a short while, but then I started to wake up a few times a night to go to the loo. Alcohol is a diuretic so that made sense.
I even tried all of the above in different combinations…to no avail in the end, due to not working or feeling awful the next day with some kind of hangover.
I did see my GP at some point but all she gave me was some heavy duty prescription meds that also gave me a hangover.
So……after many years of trial and error….I now do sleep quite well most of the time. It is still not perfect and there are some nights that I don’t sleep well, especially if I am worried about something.
So what is my routine for sleep now?
- I do my best to go to bed at the same time each night. Having said that, it is not always possible, especially on weekends when we go out for dinner with friends. However, I do my best most of the time.
- I have a ceiling fan that helps to keep me cool.
- The bedroom is dark. I have a block out blind.
- Just before dinner, I take my capsule of bio-identical progesterone which contains melatonin and 5HTP. It is best to take it on an empty stomach for better absorption. If I have a very early dinner, I wait at least 2 hours before taking it.
- Before bed I take a magnesium supplement in powder form and some holy basil powder mixed in water.
- After dark, if I watch TV or am on a device, I wear my very attractive orange glasses that cut out blue light. Blue light inhibits the production of melatonin in the pineal gland whereas lack of blue light stimulates melatonin production. I bought them on the internet for about $15!
- After I go to bed, if I have not fallen asleep within an hour, my last resort is to take a temazepam tablet. I am finding that I am doing this less as time goes by….thankfully.
So I hope this helps you if you are having trouble with sleep. Also know that you are not alone.
So….I’d love to catch up and learn more about how you are coping with menopause.
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