Many women struggle with sleep at various times throughout their lives. After childbirth, during peri-menopause, or after menopause would be the times when you might experience more problems. Problems vary from not being able to fall asleep, waking up in the middle of the night and not being able to go back to sleep, to not being able to sleep at all. There are several main reasons for these sleep problems:
- The hormone progesterone. As you go into peri-menopause, during your periods, your progesterone starts to become naturally lower. Progesterone acts as a sort of sedative. It helps you sleep and relax. So when this is low it can cause all kinds of problems when it comes to relaxation and sleep
- GABA is a neurotransmitter that affects your sleep and your calmness. If you don’t have enough GABA you may experience anxiety or restlessness.
- Serotonin is a neurotransmitter that is responsible for making you feel happy. Serotonin is made at night while you’re sleeping. There are many reasons your serotonin levels might go down with peri-menopause.
- Cortisol levels can be high in the middle of the night, causing restlessness, anxiety, and difficulty staying asleep.
All of these processes are affected by the change in your hormones that comes along with peri-menopause.
Yin and Yang
In Chinese Medicine, your Yin: the feminine, nighttime, moonlight energy, and your Yang: the masculine, daytime, bright energy, are out of balance with each other. Normally, at night your Yin will rise and your Yang will lower, but as your hormones begin to shift, the Yin doesn’t rise and the Yang stays where it is. This can make it difficult to sleep because your daytime energy is still running your body. Things like herbs and acupuncture can do wonders to help you feel better during this period. One of my favorites is a wonderful herbal formula called Celestial Emperor’s Blend. It will leave you feeling as regal as its name implies.
If you’re struggling with sleep and Chinese medicine hasn’t been able to help you, here are a few other solutions:
- Magnesium helps relax your body, calms your nerves, and supports neurotransmitters. Some of my patients prefer magnesium to most other sleep aides.
- 5HTP is a serotonin precursor that can help your body make more serotonin – which helps sleep
- GABA – you can take it as a nutritional supplement
- Phosphatidylserine – is a supplement that lowers cortisol levels- which can help sleep and calm you down. It also happens to be good for your brain!
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