Although insomnia is often related to night sweats, it is also true that you don’t sleep as well when your hormones are awry.
Insomnia can be helped by some easy measures including:
- Keeping your bedroom cool.
- Exercising early in the day—if you exercise right before going to bed, it will keep you awake.
- Cutting down on caffeine and alcohol.
- Taking warm baths or showers.
- Having cereal and milk products at bedtime.
- Learning visualization, meditation, and the relaxation response.
Herbalists recommend motherwort to fight insomnia. Chamomile tea has become a popular treatment for sleeplessness. There’s even a tea called Sleepytime. Valerian may also be an option, but be careful with its use, as it can be habit forming. Black cohosh has also been shown to be good for insomnia.
There are several good randomized studies that support the use of melatonin, a hormone available as a supplement, as a natural way to combat insomnia. There are also prescription drugs, such as Valium, Xanax, Dalmane, Halcion, Restoril, and Ambien. They can be lifesavers at certain critical times in your life, but you should never use them for more than two to three weeks. They all have side effects, including loss of memory the next day, confusion, anxiety, and excitability, and should only be used under a doctor’s supervision.
Estrogen will improve insomnia almost immediately. Micronized progesterone can also help—in fact, sleepiness is one of its side effects. That’s why doctors recommend that you take it before bed