Ask the Experts

By: Red Hot Mamas

Published: February 7, 2014

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Dr Verna McKenzieDr Marina Johnson, Red Hot Mamas Advisor

Our experts Dr. Mache Seibel, Karen Giblin, Dr. Michael Goodman, Dr. Mary Jane Minkin, Dr. Verna Brooks McKenzie and Dr. Marina Johnson field questions from our members. Submit your question.

Dear Red Hot Mamas,

What natural remedies are good for insomnia? I’ve tried magnesium and melatonin but I have still been waking up feeling tired. I have been irritable, and rather anxious due to interrupted sleep since I hit age 45.

Sleepless in San Francisco

Dear Sleepless in San Francisco,

It is normal that you feel irritable, anxious and perhaps even have mood swings due to sleeplessness.

At menopause, estrogen levels drop affecting serotonin levels. This contributes to interrupted sleep. Serotonin is responsible for regulating our sleep patterns, as well our moods.

Typically, menopausal women experience insomnia due to night sweats. Night sweats are like hot flushes, but they occur during sleep. Oftentimes, they wake you up. Some women feel hot, then become cold, and start to perspire.

Here are some natural remedies & tips to cure insomnia:

Give up caffeine, especially later in the day. Drinking 3 or more cups of cola or coffee per day will affect your sleep. Also, avoid alcohol. You may fall asleep quickly after drinking alcohol, but it may also be responsible for waking you up in the middle of the night. If you smoke, quit. Nicotine in cigarettes can keep you awake. Not to mention all the other various health benefits of quitting!

Exercise regularly and make time for recreational fun. Drink warm milk. Milk contains tryptophan which is an amino acid that has mild sedative properties. Drink chamomile tea or herbal teas. Take a tepid bath before bedtime. Try a massage, yoga or relaxation breathing exercises. Avoid television and computer work at least a 30-60 minutes before bed. The light from the screen stimulates wakefulness and discourages sleep. Reading in bed always works like a charm for me!

You should consider discussing your symptoms with your doctor if you are feeling depressed or have prolonged insomnia. Warning signs of depression are insomnia, loss of enjoyment and self-esteem, sense of helplessness, withdrawal, low energy levels as well as other symptoms. If you have any of these symptoms, consult your doctor immediately to discuss treatment options.

Best of Health!