Insomnia is a common complaint during the menopausal years. Many of us can’t sleep through the night. We often wake up in the small hours of the morning and can’t get back to sleep.
Often these awakenings coincide with a night sweat, where you to throw off the covers and stand in front of your fridge…with the door open. Sometimes you wake up with your heart pounding and in a state of anxiety for no reason. Many women experience very vivid dreams that wake them up. Other times there doesn’t seem to be any reason at all why you wake up at two and three and four in the morning, unable to fall back to sleep.
It’s possible that these awakenings are due to the body’s inability to maintain a consistent temperature due to hormonal fluctuations. Even if a hot flush isn’t apparent to you, it may be that your body temperature has risen to the point where continued sleep is impossible. It then takes a period of time before your body temperature falls again, making getting back to sleep somewhat challenging. Good sleeping habits do help. (see Allison’s post on 6 Tips For a Well-Rested You)
It’s also possible that some women need to get used to the idea that they may be awake some nights for some period of time. If one tries to stay calm and do restful, relaxing things with that time, the resultant sleep loss may not be dramatic. Some women actually report being grateful for the extra time to catch up with reading and have some quiet time to themselves while the rest of the household sleeps.
As hormone levels even out, insomnia often becomes less of a problem.
In any case, a menopausal woman needs to be aware that it is quite normal to have these early morning awakenings and that there are many, many menopausal sisters awake with her.