Addressing lifestyle may improve sleep. Exercising, eating healthy, engaging socially, managing stress and initiating relaxation techniques may make a huge difference. There are also devices that you can purchase that emit white noise, or sounds of waves crashing which are the size of an alarm clock that fit nicely on your night stand. There is no magic formula that works for everyone, however developing a consistent bedtime ritual may help. Avoid tv and computer screens before bedtime. Also avoid alcohol, caffeine and other stimulants before bed. Try going to bed the same time each night and wake up without an alarm clock. Be careful with napping throughout the day.
There are a plethora of OTC formulations available. Most of us have heard about melatonin - the sleep hormone secreted by the pineal gland deep within the brain. This gland gets activated when darkness falls. However, this hormone may be deficient based upon lifestyles. If you fall asleep with the tv on or with your tablet or phone, these lights that are emitted can block this gland from producing this valuable hormone. Taking Melatonin in low doses may help, however, this exogenous form does not work for everyone. The amino acid 5HTP is a supplement worth discussing. When taken at bedtime, 5HTP converts to serotonin (the feel good neurotransmitter) and then to melatonin.
These suggestions can work in conjunction with bioidentical hormone therapy. As discussed, when estradiol and progesterone levels decline, sleep is affected. In particular, when Progesterone is taken orally at bedtime, it binds to the Gaba receptors in the brain, thus inducing calmness and sleep.
If you are suffering from hot flashes and night sweats talk to us about how these disruptive symptoms can be addressed through our hormone replacement program.