How to sleep: How to soothe symptoms of anxiety while going through the menopause


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According to the Study of Women’s Health Across the Nation (SWAN), up to 47 percent of women going through the biological transition experience sleep issues. Aside from hormonal changes, anxiety could be keeping you awake. The NHS confirmed that during the menopause, “you may experience feelings of anxiety, stress, or even depression”. Menopausal symptoms might include: anger and irritability, anxiety, forgetfulness, loss of self-esteem, loss of confidence, low mood, and poor concentration.

“Many women experiencing menopause or peri-menopause will experience problems with sleeping,” the NHS added.

A few treatments that could help ease anxiety and improve sleep disorders are cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT), hormone replacement therapy (HRT), counselling, or mindfulness.

To help improve menopausal symptoms, it can also be helpful to eat a healthy, balanced diet and to exercise regularly.

Hormone replacement therapy (HRT)

HRT replaces hormones that are at lower levels as you approach the menopause, the NHS explained.

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HRT can help to relieve:

  • Hot flushes
  • Night sweats
  • Mood swings
  • Vaginal dryness
  • Reduced sex drive.

As HRT can help to ease night sweats, you might feel more comfortable when trying to get to sleep.

“You can usually begin HRT as soon as you start experiencing menopausal symptoms,” the NHS noted.

“A GP can explain the different types of HRT available and help you choose one that’s suitable for you.”


Types of HRT

Most women will take a combination of oestrogen and progesterone; women without a womb can take oestrogen on its own.

HRT can come in tablet form, skin patches, gels and vaginal creams, pessaries or rings.

Your doctor can talk through different HRT options, but you might need to try a couple before finding the one that works best for you.

Also ask your doctor about how long you are expected to take HRT, and whether you will come off the hormone treatment suddenly or gradually.

Do I have anxiety?

Experts at the Mayo Clinic explained an anxiety disorder as having “intense, excessive and persistent worry and fear about everyday situations”.

Anxiety can lead to feeling nervous, restless or tense; physical sensations might include:

  • Increased heart rate
  • Breathing rapidly
  • Sweating
  • Trembling
  • Feeling tired
  • Gastrointestinal problems.

If you are experiencing symptoms of anxiety that are interfering with everyday life, including sleep, do seek the support of your doctor.

“[Anxiety is] easier to treat if you get help early,” the Mayo Clinic stated.

The NHS advised people to stay away from caffeine if they experience anxiety.

“Drinking too much caffeine can make you more anxious than normal,” the health body cautioned.

“This is because caffeine can disrupt your sleep and also speed up your heartbeat.

“If you are tired, you are less likely to be able to control your anxious feelings.”


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