Seven Pillars of Healthy Menopause

#4 Sleep

Helen Clare
4 min readAug 6, 2022


Is Sleeplessness a Peri/menopausal Problem?

Sleep’s great isn’t it? It’s good for us both physically and mentally — it’s like moisturiser for the soul, it just smooths everything over and makes our days — as well as our nights — easier.

Our sleep does suffer in perimenopause and that’s partly because our thalamus, which regulates sleep is one of the areas in the brain that’s affected by the drop in oestrogen.

But there may be other factors such as hot flushes, bladder or bowel discomfort, pain, increased sensitivity to light and sound. Or it could be the anxiety or other emotional upset that comes with perimenopause that’s having an impact on your sleep.

So it’s worth keeping track of what’s going on. You could keep a notebook by the bed, or use my tracking tools, or an app on your phone. But do be aware that devices such as smart watches and fitbits that track our sleep have been known to cause a ‘nocebo affect’ — they can actually worsen our sleep because they increase our anxiety about the quality and quantity of sleep we get.

How Your Doctor Can Help

There’s a lot your doctor can do to help. HRT is usually very effective at helping with sleep and there are other options your doctor might have — such as gabapentin and certain anti-depressants although that’s obviously a conversation to have with your doctor.

If it’s your bladder waking you, vaginal oestrogen may be a big help, but there are also other drugs available too. Please don’t assume that these difficulties are an inevitable part of the experience of being a woman or getting older.

Your doctor is, however, unlikely to prescribe sleeping tablets. Sedation is not sleep — it does not come with the benefits of sleep, and many forms of sedation are habit forming.

Natural Remedies

A lot of natural remedies contain valerian which may or may not be effective and may or not cause drowsiness. It’s probably worth a shot, but you should also check for interactions with any other medicines or remedies that you take.



Helen Clare

Helping you get to grips with peri/ menopause before it gets a grip of you.