10 Tips for Creating Healthy Sleep Habits in Perimenopause

10 tips for creating healthy sleep habits in perimenopause

How to Create Healthy Sleep Habits in Perimenopause

We all know the importance of good hygiene. Most of you, I hope, shower frequently, brush your teeth, and wash your hands, so I’m pretty sure we don’t need to talk about that.

There is a different type of hygiene I am interested in exploring, though…sleep hygiene. Before we get into that, let’s first discuss WHY many women suffer from sleep issues during perimenopause.

What does perimenopause have to do with sleep problems?

The biggest culprit in sleep change during perimenopause is progesterone. In perimenopause, lack of ovulation leads to less progesterone. Less progesterone means more middle-of-the-night awakenings. In addition to an imbalance of sex hormones during perimenopause, a lot of women suffer from high levels of cortisol, which can contribute significantly to chronic insomnia. You can read more about hormones and insomnia here.

What exactly is sleep hygiene, and why is it so important?

Sleep hygiene is simply healthy sleep habits. Healthy sleep is essential for overall well-being. At least 40 million Americans each year suffer from chronic, long-term sleep disorders, and an additional 20 million experience occasional sleeping problems. Insomnia is one of THE most distressing problems that women experience in perimenopause. Why is good sleep so important?  

Here are just a few of the things lack of sleep does:
    • Impairs your cognitive function 
    • Sends sex drive down the drain
    • Contributes to Depression
    • It makes you look old
    • Can cause an early death
    • Causes bad judgment
    • Contributes to all kinds of chronic disease

So, now that we know why sleep is so important let’s move on to improving our sleep hygiene.

10 Ways to Practice Healthy Sleep Hygiene in Perimenopause
    1. Try to go to bed and wake up at the same time every day.
      As tempting as it is to sleep in on the weekends, a fluctuating schedule makes it difficult for your body to get into a sleep rhythm.

    2. Don’t watch TV, use the computer/phone, or read in bed.
      I once worked with a client who used her iPad constantly before bed. Her main perimenopause symptom was insomnia. I suggested she give up the iPad at night for the next week. She came back to our next class and…. problem solved! You should reserve your bed for two things – sleep and romance. When you read or watch TV in bed, you associate the bed with wakefulness. Also, the blue light from computer or phone screens can negatively affect melatonin production.

    3. Avoid caffeine in the afternoon.
      If you know you are sensitive, you may want to skip it altogether.

    4. Exercise before 2 pm every day.
      Consistent exercise improves sleep, but avoid exercise too close to bedtime because it raises cortisol.

    5. Optimize your bedroom. 
      Every person is different, but usually, a quiet, dark, cool (62-65 degrees) environment is optimal for tranquil sleep. Invest in a nice set of sheets and a comforter. And if your mattress is old, consider upgrading. I’ve had many clients improve sleep and pain by investing in a quality new mattress.

    6. Have a bedtime routine. 
      Doing the same thing each night tells your body it’s time to sleep. Budget an hour for winding down, where you unplug from electronics, read, and do some light stretching or other relaxation exercises.

    7. Avoid alcohol. 
      As tempting as a “nightcap” may be, it is best to avoid any alcohol in the evening. Although it can make falling asleep easier, the effect wears off and disrupts later sleep.

    8. Find methods of relaxation.
      If you are having difficulty falling asleep, make relaxation your goal. Focus on your breathing or listen to a guided meditation. Also, check out BrainTap. It’s an investment but can help with sleep, focus, and anxiety.

    9. Learn to say “no.”
      How many of us have tossed and turned at night, our minds flooded with upcoming commitments? “No” is a complete sentence, so practice saying it. Your body will thank you.

    10. Do a brain dump.
      Rather than spend precious sleep minutes worrying about tomorrow, do a brain dump of everything on your mind. Write it down and know that you can relax and rest easy.

Creating healthy sleep habits does not need to happen overnight. Many of these changes take time. As a veteran insomniac, it has taken years to figure out what works best for me. And it can change over time… so be willing to experiment.


Dr. Anna Garrett is a menopause expert and Doctor of Pharmacy. She helps women who are struggling with symptoms of perimenopause and menopause find natural hormone-balancing solutions so they can rock their mojo through midlife and beyond. Dr. Anna is the author of Perimenopause: The Savvy Sister’s Guide to Hormone Harmony. Order your copy at www.perimenopausebook.com.

Also, she offers a membership group, Hormone Harmony with Dr. Anna Garrett, which provides women in midlife with affordable expert guidance and community support.

Dr. Anna is available for 1-1 consultation. Find out more at www.drannagarrett.com/lets-talk.

Get Chapter 1 of Dr. Anna’s Book—Free!

Perimenopause: The Savvy Sister’s Guide to Hormone Harmony

This book gives you the tools you need to navigate this transition without losing your mind or your mojo.

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