Why Sleep Can Suck During Menopause and what to do about it

I'm so hot I can't sleep!

Sound familiar?

But why is there a link between menopause and insomnia?  

Does menopause cause insomnia? 

WHY do the hormonal changes of menopause (& potentially low hormone levels post menopause) keep us from sleeping?  

Well there are two main causes:  

  1. 1
    You're too hot to sleep
  2. 2
    you can't get into a deep, uninterrupted sleep 

We'll talk about both - plus a couple of secondary reasons you might be having menopause insomnia... 

And we'll talk about natural remedies and supplements for menopause insomnia - and we'll go over good sleep habits. 

too hot to sleep during menopause

#1 You're Too Hot Too Sleep

Night sweats and feeling hot at night are waking you up or keeping you awake.

Sure enough science shows sleeping cool means sleeping better.  

When you sleep cool you:

  1. You make more melatonin
  2. Help prevent metabolic syndrome
  3. Can increase metabolism
  4. May fall asleep more easily

What Causes Heat At Night?

The western view is that decreasing estrogen causes the body to send out signals to heat up at night.

The Western Solution:

  1. Increase hormone levels with hormone-replacement therapy
  2. Practice good sleep habits

The Chinese Medicine View:  Decreasing YIN, your watery essence, causes your fire energy to rage out of control. 

If you have too much fire, you'll be hot all the time.  This is called regular or full heat.

If you have a normal amount of fire, but not enough water, you'll have heat that comes and goes in flashes and is worse at night.  This is called empty heat and is usually what happens during menopause. 

The Chinese Medicine Solution:

  1. Increase the yin, watery energy, with herbs and use herbs that clear empty heat without damaging the fire energy 
  2. Practice good sleep habits, manage stress, and eat a healthy diet
menopause insomnia

#2 You can't get into a deep sleep and stay there

Young women, if they have trouble sleeping, tend to have trouble falling asleep.  But during & after menopause women have more trouble staying asleep. 

What Causes Interrupted Sleep During Menopause?

The western view says low hormone levels, especially estrogen, can make it hard to sleep deeply & uninterrupted.  

The Western Solution:

  1. Increase hormone levels with hormone-replacement therapy
  2. Practice good sleep habits

The Chinese Medicine View:  Disharmony between the heart and kidney combined with yin, watery essence, being low is often what causes interrupted sleep. 

This disharmony causes a pattern of falling asleep but then not being able to stay asleep. 

I love that Chinese medicine sees this pattern differently from other types of sleep issues (and addresses it differently as well.)

Be sure to watch the video above to hear about what this pattern FEELS like. 

The Chinese Medicine Solution:

  1. Harmonize the heart and kidney with herbs
  2. Use herbs to strengthen Yin wherever needed
  3. Practice stress management, exercise, and eat a healthy diet
yawning from not sleeping

#3 The secondary ways menopause interrupts sleep

There are other hormonal changes happening during & after menopause that can also affect your sleep. 

Stress hormones are too high, out of balance, and peaking at night

The Solution:

  1. Practice daily deep breathing and meditation
  2. Use herbs to help keep stress hormone levels healthy & well regulated

Why stress management matters so much during early peri-menopause

During peri-menopause, hormonal discomforts are often caused by low progesterone levels.  Your body is struggling to make enough progesterone to keep your progesterone levels from dropping too low too fast. 

High levels of stress hormones actually eat up progesterone!  Sometimes faster than you can make it. 


Why stress management matters even more after menopause

After menopause your biggest hormonal challenge is often keeping your hormone levels from going too low. 

You adrenal glands can take over making your female hormones, but your adrenals also make your stress hormones. 

So if they're making stress hormones all the time - they never get to switch over to making female hormones - and those hormone levels go too low.  

Blood sugar hormones  are dropping or spiking at night 

Stabilizing blood sugar is one of the BEST things you can do for your hormones, sleep, metabolism, energy, mood, and your overall health during & after menopause. 

The Solution:

  1. Eat a diet aimed at stabilizing your blood sugar
  2. Herbs can help support stable blood sugar

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Find out how sugar can disrupt your hormones and what to do about it in this blog post

Good Sleep Habits

Underlying hormonal imbalance is probably at the root of your menopausal sleep issues.  The suggestions above can help you correct that.  Don't skip that step!

But good sleep habits can help take whatever sleep you're getting - and maximize it.  Here are some of my favorites. 



 Have a regular bedtime and a regular wake time. 


Avoid blue light for at least 2 hours before bed. Either turn off TVs, computers, phones, tablets, and cool LED light bulbs OR get blue light blocking glasses or clip ons with an orange tint. 


Sleep in a dark room.  Either use blackout curtains and turn out all lights (no chargers, lit up alarm clocks etc.) OR use a sleep mask.  


Use natural sleep aids.  Things like valerian, melatonin, and magnesium may help 


Use essential oils.  You can diffuse them in your bedroom all night or just put a couple of drops on your pillowcase at bedtime.  I like equal parts marjoram and cedar for help staying asleep in particular.  (You can try adding Lavender if you also have trouble falling asleep!)  Use only high quality essential oils. 


Stop all caffeine.  Yes 1/2 cup coffee early in the morning can potentially keep you awake at night.  I talk about this more in the video!!  


Sleep in a cool room.  But not with a fan blowing directly on you.  Point it in a different direction.  (Sleeping with wind blowing directly on you is a big No No in Chinese medicine.  I talk more about this in the video.) 


Exercise.  Get the right kind and amount of exercise - and don't exercise too close to bedtime.  Lots of gentle exercise (like walking) is great - but include a few short higher intensity bursts of cardio or weight lifting a couple of times a week. 


Eat a low glycemic diet.  A diet that helps even out and stabilize your blood sugar can really help!  For some women that means eating more often, for some it means eating less often.  Find out what works for you - it's that important. 

What To Do Now:

1. Get to the root cause

Address the underlying hormonal imbalance (which can also be seen as an imbalance in yin/watery essence) which may be causing your menopausal or post menopausal sleep issues. 

2. Check for secondary hormonal causes

Check for stress hormone & blood sugar hormone imbalance

3. Use good sleep habits

Maximize whatever sleep you are getting with good sleep habits

How To Do It 

My favorite way to address the underlying hormonal and yin/watery essence issues that cause  menopausal and post-menopausal sleep issues is to use... 

  1. Customized Chinese Herbs
  2. Supported by the best diet for your hormones

Get started with my free resources...

And then watch your email for an invite to my next free online class or click here to learn more about working with me



The Menopause Blueprint Masterclass

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Questions?  Comments?  Let's chat...

Thanks so much for joining me here today!

 I'd love to know what was the one thing that jumped out at you - that you're going to start using right away?  

Please type that into the comments below along with any questions. 

Peace & Wellness

 - Dana

This information is being provided to you for educational and informational purposes only. It is being provided to you to educate you about Chinese medicine in your diet, lifestyle, and supplements and as a self-help tool for your own use. It is not personalized health advice. This information is to be used at your own risk based on your own judgment.  For my full Disclaimer, please go to

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