How To Sleep Better During The Peri-Menopause and Menopause

AD We expect sleepless nights when we have a newborn, but as our children grow up and become more independent we should be able to get a good night's sleep right? Not always. It feels like a cruel joke that once we no longer need to worry about our children disturbing us at night along comes the menopause to interrupt our sweet dreams. With many women experiencing peri-menopause symptoms throughout their 40s it's not just a few sleepless nights either. So how can we sleep better in the years before and during the menopause?

A women in her forties sleeping soundly
Sleep disturbance in the years before and during your menopause is common

How Does The Menopause Affect Your Sleep?

You can read the science behind it here, but if you are already feeling tired it's enough to know that it's the hormone changes that occur during the peri-menopause and menopause which can have a big impact on how we look, feel and behave. These hormonal fluctuations have a direct impact on our ability to fall and stay asleep, but many of the general symptoms of menopause like hot flashes, night sweats, mood changes, and increased anxiety or stress will disrupt a good night's sleep too.  

What Is A Good Night's Sleep?

We all need different amounts of sleep, but for us to wake in the morning feeling rested we need to complete a number of sleep cycles. In a normal, uninterrupted sleep cycle we go through different sleep stages. If our sleep is disrupted or too short we are likely to spend less time in deep sleep and this is the stage which is really important for feeling refreshed in the morning. You can read more about what is deep sleep here and why we need it.

10 Tips For Better Sleep in Peri-Menopause and Menopause

Go Back To Basics

As adults we often take sleep for granted, but if you were ever a parent of a reluctant sleeping toddler you will know there are a few tips that can help them sleep more easily. The same things that helped your little one sleep better can also help us as adults. These include: avoiding blue light close to bedtime (so no screens and using curtains to make the room darker in summer), taking time to relax before bed and having a warm bath or shower. 

Keep Cool

Everybody sleeps better if they are the right temperature, but if you experience hot flashes at night then it’s even more important to make sure your room is cool enough. Wear light sleep clothes in natural fabrics, keep your room a good temperature (18 degrees is meant to be ideal so you might want to invest in air conditioning in summer) and use a summer low tog duvet. The Simba Summer Hybrid duvet is designed with special 'cool touch' technology which is designed to draw heat away from you stopping you feeling too hot while you sleep. 

Be Comfortable

When was the last time you changed your mattress or pillow? How often they need replacing will depend on the material and quality, but if you haven't bought a new one since Inside Out and Fifty Shades Of Grey were in the cinema then it's not a good sign. Regardless of age if they are starting to feel lumpy or they don't provide the support you need then it’s time to get a replacement. 

Avoid Caffeine

I'm definitely one of those people who reach for a strong cup of coffee to get me through a day when I can't stop yawning, but make sure that caffeine kick isn't making you more tired. Give your body plenty of time to remove the stimulant before bedtime so it doesn’t hinder your ability to sleep. An easy rule is to avoid caffeine after lunch. 

Eat Well

We might all feel sleepy after eating a big meal (I know some of my family just can't stay awake after Christmas lunch), but being too full will stop you getting a good night’s sleep. If you want to eat close to bed choose a light snack that is low in sugar and ideally high in tryptophan. Tryptophan is an amino acid thought to improve sleep so consider a snack of foods that are a good source including: chicken, eggs, milk, nuts, seeds and oats.

Have A Routine

Our bodies and minds respond well to routine. By getting up in the morning and going to bed at the same time each day our body comes to expect this and prepare. It might be tempting to try and sleep in late at weekends or to have naps, but this will have a knock on effect to how well you sleep the next night.

Empty Your Mind

If you find you have a 1001 things running through your mind as soon as your head hits the pillow then it can be helpful to write things down. Some people find it helps to take time to journal about their worries before going to bed. It can also help to have a notebook next to your bed so you can quickly write down that really-important-thing-you-have-just-remembered-and-must-do-tomorrow-or-it-will-be-a-disaster. Many people find that by putting their thoughts on paper they can remove it from their minds for a while.


We all know exercise is important for lots of reasons, but a surprising benefit is it can help you sleep better. Aim to do at least 10 minutes of exercise every day (or longer if you feel able too), but not too close to bed. The post exercise endorphins can give you a short term energy boost so aim for at least 4 hours between finishing exercise and going to bed.

Seek Sunlight

You might have heard that one of the best ways to tackle jet lag is by getting outside and enjoying the sun and the same idea can help you sleep at night. Light, especially from the sun, tells our body it is time to be awake and darkness that it is time to sleep. This is why it’s so important to use an eye mask or sleep in a dark room at night. If you are inside all day it can be confusing for your body so make sure to get outside regularly whether it’s for a walk in your lunch break or just to enjoy a cup of tea in your garden. 

Get Medical Help

Sleep disturbance or insomnia can make it really difficult to manage every day tasks even without the impact of other menopause symptoms. If these tips don’t help or you are finding it difficult to cope then it is important to speak to your GP to discuss potential options. Lifestyle changes, hormone therapy, and cognitive-behavioural therapy are some possible solutions that may help improve sleep during menopause.

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