Why Can't I Sleep? Navigating Sleep Challenges During Midlife

Why Can't I Sleep? Navigating Sleep Challenges During Midlife

Difficulty sleeping, or insomnia, is a common concern for women in peri/menopause transition. Perimenopause symptoms could be happening as early as your mid to late 30s. The relationship between stress and insomnia often adds to the complexity of sleep issues, particularly for midlife women dealing with a spectrum of life changes - job-related stress, loss of a life partner, and caregiving responsibilities. Insomnia could also be linked to chronic illnesses, certain medications, and the hallmark symptoms of menopause – hot flashes and night sweats.

Understanding the Impact

Sleep disturbances during menopause are frequently associated with vasomotor symptoms, contributing to difficulties in falling and staying asleep, along with early morning awakening. The challenges presented by these symptoms often intertwine with feelings of depression and anxiety, intensifying the overall impact on sleep quality. Not to mention poor sleep impacts metabolism and has been linked to cardiovascular risk factors.

Strategies for Better Sleep

The first step in managing sleep problems > cultivate healthy sleep habits. If behavioral adjustments aren't enough, consult with a healthcare provider. Identifying potential underlying causes is essential. Thyroid disorders, allergies, anemia, depression, restless legs syndrome, or sleep-disordered breathing like obstructive sleep apnea, could all be contributing to poor sleep.

My sleep tips

  1. Get up at the same time every morning
  2. Increase morning light exposure
  3. Exercise regularly
  4. Journal thoughts and feelings before bed
  5. Set room temperature to 64-68 degrees
  6. Engage in relaxing activities before bedtime, such as a warm bath
  7. Take Magnesium Glycinate in the evening
  8. Stick to a consistent bedtime
  9. Silk sleep mask
  10. Listen to a guided sleep meditation (I like the Deep Sleep app)


  1. Avoid napping, unless you're a shift worker
  2. No caffeine after 1pm
  3. Avoid exercise within 3 hours of bedtime
  4. Don't eat a heavy meal or drink alchohol within 3 hours of bedtime
  5. The bed is for sleep and sex only

Navigating Treatment Options

While over-the-counter sleep aids are often ineffective and may pose risks, prescription medications may be considered after discussing potential adverse events with a healthcare provider. Hormone therapy may be the key, specifically for sleep disturbances related to hot flashes, given its proven effectiveness in improving sleep quality.

By incorporating these strategies, women navigating the menopause transition can take proactive steps toward achieving restful nights and overall well-being.