Perimenopause sleep problems: Struggling to fall asleep

10 (2 reviews) Rate this page

Menopause Advisor
Ask Eileen

06 June 2022

Today's topic

Today on A.Vogel Talks Menopause, I take a look at why it's harder to get to sleep and stay asleep in perimenopause.

Sleep problems is one of the biggest issues that I get a huge number of questions about it on a regular basis. A lot of women find that their sleep tends to be disrupted during perimenopause and as they head into menopause. Either they can't fall asleep, or they find it really hard, or they can't stay asleep and wake several times during the night. So, because it's such a big subject, I thought I would cover it over the next two weeks.

So, this week it's all about why you find it harder to fall asleep.

Menopause and sleep

Interestingly, for those of you that watched the Davina McCall program, results from a study commissioned by Channel 4, by the Fawcett Society were featured and they showed that a whopping 8 out of 10 women find it difficult to sleep. (1

If it takes you longer to get to sleep and your sleep gets disrupted, it can have huge repercussions on how you feel emotionally and physically the next day, as well as the symptoms you can experience.

So, if you don't get enough sleep, you can feel fatigued, your mood can be affected causing low mood or anxiety, and symptoms such as hot flushes can worsen. You can also end up with brain fog. So, tackling sleep is going to have a benefit for a number of other menopause symptoms as well.

How can you sleep better during menopause?

Before you can sleep better, you first need to identify and treat the contributing factors which can make it harder to fall asleep during perimenopause and menopause.

1. Your hormones

In perimenopause, your hormones can fluctuate day by day. There can be tremendous changes happening on a daily basis. And because of all these changes, this can put physical stress on the body. It can cause things like anxiety and stress. And that will have an impact on how quickly and how easily you can fall asleep.

2. Stress and anxiety

If you're stressed and anxious, if you're worried about things, and worries can become exaggerated during perimenopause, you can end up getting very fearful, then your brain could be going ten to the dozen when you get into bed, which can make it harder to switch off and relax enough to fall sleep.

What can help?

Relax before bed. This is really important; you need to make sure that your mind isn't revved up before you go to bed. So, try and relax before you go to bed if you can. Have an hour without technology too, because the blue light apparently that comes from things like computers and your phone, can have an effect on how you fall asleep. And no TVs in the bedroom. So many women are watching TV before they go to bed and then wonder why they can't fall asleep.

It's amazing how many little things you do without realising it can affect the way that you fall asleep.

I actually discovered years ago that some books make it harder for me to fall asleep! I like to read in the evening, especially before I go to bed. But I like adventure books and crime novels, but I was finding that reading those sorts of books were revving up my nervous system before bed. So, I try and make sure that if I'm reading books, they're ones that don't tax my nervous system.

You can look at the combination of the herbs Valerian and Hops, which can be found in our Dormeasan Sleep Valerian-Hops Oral Drops. These can help aid sleep and when taken 30 mins before bed, can help restore a more natural sleep.

A.Vogel Dormeasan Sleep Valerian-Hops Oral Drops | Sleeping Aid | Extracts of Fresh Valerian Root

£4.99 (15ml) In Stock

Are you Menopausal? Need help with your symptoms? Try our Menopause Symptom Checker.

Answer 3 question to find out if you could be menopausal and get personalised tips and advice straight to your inbox based on your results.

Take the test now

3. Joint and Muscle Aches and Pains

Joint pain and muscle aches are two very common problems during perimenopause and menopause. So, if you're in pain, if your muscles are not relaxing, if you're going to bed and every single muscle in your body is really tense, then you're not going to drop off to sleep easily. And if you're in a lot of joint pain, tossing and turning is certainly not going to help.

What can help?

So, for this one, you can look at a magnesium supplement, maybe about 200 milligrams depending on what sort you get, with your evening meal. This can often help because it helps to relax the muscles and help to ease joint pain.

You could also look at the herb devil's claw, which is in our Atrosan Devil's Claw tablets. This is known to help relieve general aches and pains in muscles and joints.

And remember the water because a lot of women don't drink in the evening because it affects their bladder during the night. But you can get really dehydrated. And dehydration will make joint pain worse.

4. Hot flushes and night sweats

A lot of women tell me that just when they get into bed, they're hit with a hot flush or a night sweat. This is very often a nervous system reaction. The minute you relax, your nervous system just goes into overdrive before everything calms down.

What can help?

The herb sage is known to help relieve hot flushes and night sweats. This can be taken as a tablet, such as our Menoforce Sage tabets, with your evening meal. Or if you're taking a liquid sage, then take it about half an hour before you jump into bed.

And remember the water too because if you're getting a flush or a sweat just as you get into bed, you're going to be dehydrated even before you get to sleep. A nice little shot glass of warm water just before you jump into bed can often have a great result in helping you to get to sleep, and keeping you hydrated without affecting your bladder.

5. Digestive issues

Digestive problems are very common during perimenopause and menopause with falling oestrogen known to slow down digestion. So, if you're having a big meal late in the evening, your digestion system could still be trying to digest that meal when you're trying to get to sleep. And all that energy that the body is having to produce to digest your food will keep you awake.

What can help?

Some women find that having their main meal midday and then having a smaller meal in the evening can help. And that also means you can have a snack before bedtime if you need to. If you're getting a lot of indigestion, if you're getting gastric reflux when you jump into bed, then look at bitter herbs such as Yarrow because they can help aid digestion.

What else can help you fall asleep better during perimenopause

There are lots of other simple things you can do to help you get to sleep better and faster. Here are a few other things I recommend:

Have a set bedtime: Have a really good bedtime routine and try and get to bed at the same time every night. That way, your body is almost pre-setting itself for sleep. Think about how important it is to get a good bedtime routine for young children and toddlers, and it's the same for us as well.

Don't exercise late in the evening: While exercise can help you sleep, don't do it too late in the evening, that's going to rev up your nervous system and it's going to energise you. And that's going to make it more difficult to get to sleep.

Watch your caffeine intake: I had one woman and all she did was stop her after-dinner cup of coffee and her sleep improved dramatically within a couple of days. So, remember, if you're going to have coffee, have it in the morning and no later than 3pm in the afternoon because it takes about 8 hours for your body to process a cup of coffee. So, a late afternoon cup of coffee could affect your sleep!

Make your sleep environment comfortable and not too warm: Keep your bedroom well-aired, and turn the temperature on your thermostat down a bit, especially if you're getting hot flushes or night sweats.Clear any clutter too. Apparently, if you have too much going on in your bedroom, this can affect your sleep and also, the colour of your bedroom. I read that the colour red keeps you energised. So even the colour of your bedroom and the bedding is thought to have an effect on your sleep, so maybe go for pastel colours for your walls and bed linen.

Don't lie in bed getting anxious about not being able to sleep: Some women find if they can't get off to sleep after about half an hour or so, they get up and maybe have a little, gentle walk around the house, practice some deep breathing, and then get back into bed. And sometimes, that can help as well.

So, I hope you found this one helpful. It's a huge issue and there are lots of different areas that are all connected to this. So, this is just a quick overview of it. If you have any sleep tips that have helped you or any questions then please share them in the comment section below.

I will see you next week for part two on why you keep waking up, common sleep disturbances during perimenopause and how to sleep well the whole night.

Until then, take care.

A.Vogel Dormeasan Sleep Valerian-Hops Oral Drops | Sleeping Aid | Extracts of Fresh Valerian Root


£ 4.99

Buy now

Herbal sleep remedy containing organically grown valerian root and hops. Fresh herb tincture.
More info

Are you Menopausal? Need help with your symptoms? Try our Menopause Symptom Checker.