Menopause Might Be Keeping You Awake at Night

By Lisa Nickchen, Editorial Contributor

You toss and turn, and then after finally falling asleep, you wake up drenched in sweat. Sound familiar?

If so, you’re not alone. More than 60 percent of menopausal women report frequent insomnia, often caused by hot flashes, according to the National Sleep Foundation. Other menopause symptoms — such as fatigue, anxiety and trouble concentrating — can further lessen your chances for a good night’s sleep.

Any of these symptoms should be discussed with your physician, says Dr. Gregory Zittel, a gynecologist with Orlando Health Physician Associates. Chronic insomnia is not only exhausting and frustrating, but can contribute

to heart disease, high blood pressure and other medical conditions. So, it’s important to take some action.

These expert suggestions can help put you on the road to better sleep.

Consider Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT): Make sure to discuss this approach with your doctor. Each woman’s situation is unique, and treatment needs to be tailored to your specific needs, notes Dr. Zittel.

“HRT is the most effective treatment for moderate or severe menopausal symptoms,” says Dr. Zittel. “Bioidentical hormone treatment is often preferred, but synthetic hormones also can be effective. Women at high risk or with a history of breast cancer or blood clots should not take HRT. However, there are non-hormonal medications that may be an option.”

Stay Cool: Choose breathable, cotton sleepwear and sheets. Before bed, consider taking a cool shower and turning down the thermostat.

Relax–Breathe–Repeat: Try relaxation techniques, such as meditation, yoga or deep breathing. Soft music or easy reading also may help.

Get Moving: Regular aerobic exercise can improve the quality of your sleep, mood and vitality.

Mindfully Sip: Caffeine can take up to eight hours to leave your system, keeping you awake and triggering hot flashes. Alcohol is another possible hot-flash trigger. While it may help you relax and fall asleep, it can make staying asleep difficult. 

Stay on Schedule: Stick to going to bed and waking up at about the same time every day. 

To make an appointment with a doctor specializing in women’s health, visit