When I started experiencing insomnia in my mid-forties, little did I know that it was a pre-menopausal symptom. At the time, I attributed the insomnia to my job, more directly to my boss. Even after I discarded the boss, a good night’s sleep was out of my reach.
My doctor suggested long, warm baths and chamomile tea before bedtime. That remedy only made me feel like a prune and activated my pea-size bladder in the middle of the night. So much for uninterrupted sleep.
Searching the Internet, I found several “tips” like:
- Do not nap during the day. (For those women still working, napping is only a dream.)
- Exercise daily but be sure to avoid vigorous exercise three hours or less before bedtime. (Practice for the marathon only on weekend mornings.)
- Avoid caffeine, alcohol and nicotine throughout the day. (Didn’t apply to me since I don’t smoke, don’t drink beverages laced with caffeine and rarely drink alcohol.)
- Keep your bedroom cool to prevent night sweats. (I never had night sweats.)
- Do not go to bed until you are tired. (Really?)
- Take a warm bath or shower before bedtime. (Been there, done that.)
- Do not watch TV, eat or read in bed. (Reading in bed is the one thing that does help me sleep.)
- Follow the same bedtime routine each night. (Yeah. Unplug the phone so your kids or elderly parents can’t bother you.)
I swear that these “tips” were NOT written by menopausal women.
Seeking more relief, I tried over-the-counter sleep aids which helped for awhile, but the ones marketed for estrogen-deprived women kept me awake! I also tried hormone replacement therapy (HRT), which made me nauseated all day. I actually thought I might be pregnant at age 55!
Finally, my doctor prescribed a pill that did the trick and which I still take 20 years later. Of course, I have read all the literature about this pill possibly contributing to memory loss but, let me tell you, when I was getting only four hours or less sleep a night, I could not function on any level.
Unfortunately, ladies, we are on our own when dealing with menopause-induced insomnia. Sometimes, prayer may be the only answer!