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Sleep science

Menopause triggered insomnia

One big question I get asked a lot is around menopause and sleep. Is there anything that can be done if the menopause is causing you sleep issues? It’s a big subject.

Menopause can 100% cause insomnia and it can be the trigger of lots of different types of sleep issues. It’s something horrible where you know you can’t help it affecting your sleep. Often insomnia is triggered. While you can’t always determine the trigger, often people going through menopause know it’s the trigger. But there is a difference between something that keeps waking you up at night e.g., hot flushes, and having hot flushes and then not being able to get back to sleep for hours. When you start noticing that happen that’s when we start calling it a chronic sleep condition. That’s at the point where we can do something about it.

There’s a big difference between being able to go back to sleep because your drive is strong enough and your sleep is all good apart from the initial trigger, and having something that is almost programmed so your body sees it as a pattern you have habituated to. Often it’s after the sleep issues have persisted after the three-month mark. At the end of the day there will be people with menopause who don’t have sleep problems. Or they may not have the problem of not being able to get back to sleep no matter what disrupts their sleep. Therefore, you know it is a different problem. But in a way this is a good thing, because even though we can’t take away the original chronic trigger e.g., night sweats, we can make it easier to manage. We can make your sleep robust enough so you can cope with the menopause symptoms a lot better.