Insomnia and sleep disruption are among the most commonly reported symptoms of the menopausal transition.
In fact, nearly 80% of the 40,000 people included in our menopause study reported sleep disruption as one of their top symptoms, and over 50% of those surveyed classified said sleep disturbances as severe.
To make matters worse, transitioning from daylight savings time (DST) to standard time can further delay your natural sleep-wake cycle, making you feel tired in the morning and alert in the evening. This misalignment can contribute to cumulative sleep loss and sleep debt, which can take its toll on those already struggling with sleep disruption.
It’s clear that the hormonal, physical, and psychological ramifications of menopause affect sleep quality. But what role does melatonin play in these changes? And can melatonin supplements provide additional benefits to those in the menopausal transition?
What is melatonin?
Melatonin is a pineal hormone responsible for regulating the circadian sleep cycle. The brain produces the hormone in response to darkness, helping to prepare your mind and body for sleep.
Early research suggests that melatonin may play additional roles in the body beyond sleep, but these effects are not yet fully understood.
The melatonin-menopause connection
Like estrogen and progesterone, melatonin production naturally decreases with age. On average, just 12% of women experience trouble sleeping. But for those in their 40s and 50s, that number increases to 40%.
Several sleep disorders are commonly experienced during menopause, including restless leg syndrome, sleep-disordered breathing, and chronic insomnia.
What are the benefits of taking melatonin during the menopausal transition?
Research exploring the use of melatonin in perimenopause, menopause, and postmenopause are mixed, but some studies show that it can be an effective treatment for specific types of sleep disturbances:
- Difficulties with falling asleep in menopause or perimenopause may be reliably alleviated by low doses of melatonin.
- Optimal doses can vary from individual to individual, but studies suggest that low doses (0.3-1.0 mg) are the most effective.
- For sleep disturbances caused by vasomotor symptoms in perimenopause, hormone replacement therapy might be the more effective treatment option.
- Postmenopausal comorbidities, including depression and anxiety, may benefit more from antidepression treatment or medication than melatonin alone.
Generally, melatonin is safe to use and can help to alleviate difficulties with falling asleep, jet lag, time changes, and sleep problems experienced during menopause.
Other methods to improve sleep hygiene
In addition to taking melatonin, there are several lifestyle changes that can help to improve sleep hygiene and overall sleep quality:
- Keeping the bedroom cool is optimal for preserving REM sleep (between 60 and 67 degrees Fahrenheit is ideal).
- Black out your room, wear a sleep mask, and minimize your exposure to blue light before bedtime to encourage natural melatonin production at night.
- Prepare for upcoming time changes, including standard time and daylight savings time, by adjusting your bedtime for one week in advance by 10-15 minutes each night.
- Skip the late night meal or snack, which can confuse your internal clock.
- Avoid drinking caffeine after 12 PM.
How Evernow can help
Looking for a solution to help with sleep disturbances and other symptoms of the menopausal transition? We’re here to help.
With Evernow, we guide you hand-in-hand through the hormone replacement process to ensure that you are a candidate and that you have the treatment best suited to help you manage your insomnia and other menopause symptoms.
If you’re interested in finding out whether you are a good candidate for hormone replacement therapy, click here.
- Effects of thermal environment on sleep and circadian rhythm. (2012). https://jphysiolanthropol.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/1880-6805-31-14
- Do Perimenopausal Women Benefit From Melatonin? (2020). https://womensmentalhealth.org/posts/melatonin-menopause/
- Melatonin in humans. (1997). https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/8988899/
- Melatonin: What You Need To Know. (2021). https://www.nccih.nih.gov/health/melatonin-what-you-need-to-know
- Menopause and Sleep. (2021). https://www.sleepfoundation.org/women-sleep/menopause-and-sleep
- Sleep, Melatonin, and the Menopausal Transition: What are the links? (2017). https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5611767/