Menopause and Insomnia: 6 Strategies for Better Sleep

The effects of sleep deprivation extend far beyond just a grumpy mood

Tania Sultana
By Tania Sultana
Dorian Rhode
Edited by Dorian Rhode

Updated December 16, 2023.

A woman in bed suffering from menopause insomnia.

It is estimated that 16%–47% of peri-menopausal women and 35%–60% of postmenopausal women experience menopause insomnia. [1] This sleep disturbance can lead to fatigue, stress, and impaired cognitive function. [2]

Despite the prevalence of menopause sleep problems, you can implement strategies to improve your sleep and well-being with a few lifestyle adjustments.

Why does menopause cause insomnia?

Estrogen plays a role in the regulation of the sleep-wake cycle, while progesterone has a calming effect on the nervous system. These hormones decrease during menopause, making it harder to fall asleep.

Note: Menopause can also cause hot flashes and night sweats, which could also lead to anxiety and stress that affect your rest.

6 strategies for better sleep

1. Monitor your diet

Heavy meals, caffeine, alcohol, and tobacco can make it difficult to fall asleep because they can trigger hot flashes, so avoid them close to bedtime. [3]

InsideTracker's Ultimate Plan establishes a baseline for your health and tells you what’s optimized and what’s not. You'll get science-backed nutrition, supplement, and exercise recommendations to address the areas of your health that need to improve.

2. Maintain a sleep schedule

Head to bed and wake up at the same time every day to regulate the body's internal clock and fall asleep quickly. And focus on getting enough sleep, too. According to research from the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard, adults who sleep fewer than six hours have an increased risk of stroke or heart attack. [4, 5]

3. Create a peaceful sleep environment

Ensure the bedroom is calm, dark, and quiet—with a comfortable mattress and pillows. Earplugs, blackout curtains, and an eye mask can help you avoid distractions so you can rest.

You should also avoid screens before bedtime, as the blue light can disrupt the production of melatonin—a hormone that helps with your natural circadian rhythm. [6]

4. Exercise

Stay active through menopause to improve sleep quality. Aerobic training for six months can reduce hot flashes, and mind-body exercises like yoga can reduce stress caused by insomnia. [7, 8]

A woman waking up happy because she no longer has menopause insomnia.

» Struggling to shed pounds? Find out why weight loss in menopause is hard

5. Avoid liquids before bed

Our bodies change in many ways as we age, including our urinary systems. You might develop an overactive bladder—a common condition that affects older adults. [9] Avoid drinking fluids at least two hours before sleeping to prevent nighttime bathroom trips.

6. Take supplements

You can try herbal supplements like valerian root or black cohosh, but consult a healthcare provider first. Though there isn't conclusive evidence, some studies suggest magnesium can improve sleep quality. [10, 11]

Note: Dietary supplements are not regulated or controlled by the FDA like medications, so consult your physician before trying them.

How long does menopause insomnia last?

How long menopause insomnia lasts depends on many factors, as everyone can have a different experience.

Hormonal changes can begin 7–10 years before the last period, leading to symptoms like hot flashes soon after. Short-term menopause insomnia is more common, and it can last up to 21 days. [1]

Menopause insomnia treatment

Consider professional help if insomnia significantly affects your sleep quality and these strategies don't work.

A healthcare provider might suggest the following:

  • Hormone replacement therapy (HRT) can help stabilize estrogen and progesterone, leading to quality sleep.
  • Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT-I) is a primary intervention for chronic insomnia. It's a drug-free approach that can improve sleep quality in the long term. [12, 13]

Note: Choosing the proper treatment should depend on individual factors. You can consult a healthcare provider to compare benefits and potential side effects.

Reclaim your sleep

While some women may see improvement as their bodies adapt to hormonal changes, there's no universal fix. As estrogen levels stabilize, sleep disturbances may naturally disappear.

Use InsideTracker along with recommended strategies to support your menopausal journey. With InsideTracker, you can help you establish a healthy baseline for sleep-related biomarkers—like vitamin D and magnesium—identifying deficiencies and allowing you to track progress.