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One of the earliest symptoms that menopause may be on the horizon is difficulty with sleep.  This could be difficulty falling asleep, or waking up with night sweats or hot flashes, or waking up about four hours after going to bed and then not being able to fall back to sleep. In part 1 of this series we will discuss the last one.  Waking up at 2 a.m. and feeling wide awake and unable to go back to sleep.

I had this problem.  Boy, did I ever have this problem.  Every night almost.  It was making me crazy.  From time to time, I would sleep through the night, but five nights a week, I definitely did not.  It was caused by hot flashes or night sweats.  I would just awaken for seemingly no reason.

It was about three years ago that I figured out the problem.

Wine.

I would have a glass of wine in the evening five nights a week.  Yikes!  Then, I somehow figured out that if I didn’t have that glass of wine, I would sleep all night.  I remember chatting with someone at the local Trader Joe’s about it and she had the same problem.  So did lots of her friends.

I did a little research on this.  Turns out that alcohol can raise your blood sugar up to 24 hours after taking it.  I figured out that if I had a glass of wine before 6 p.m. I would be okay.  But after 6 p.m.  Forget it.  So my window with wine and blood sugar is obviously less than 24 hours.

Also, consuming a moderate amount of alcohol can raise your blood sugar, but a large amount actually depresses it because it increases the amount of insulin that gets released.  Does that mean if women are going to drink wine, to be sure to drink a lot?  Probably not…

So I quit having a daily glass of wine, and my sleep improved dramatically.  If we were getting together with family, I made sure I had some bubbly water or something else that felt festive.

So perhaps you are saying, “Great.  Good for you.  How does this help me?  I don’t drink.”

What If I Don’t Drink Alcohol?

Well let’s be honest.  In the end, alcohol is nothing more than highly refined sugar.  So even if you aren’t drinking, are you eating sweets in the evening?  Sweets also affect the blood sugar.  Diet is a pretty important part of managing menopause symptoms.  Stay away from sweets after 6 p.m.  Or figure out the window that works for you.

But I want to Be Able to Have a Glass of Wine with My Friends and Still Sleep At Night

Yes, we can all get whiney about that. I certainly do.

Here are your options.  Decide what is most important.  Wine or Sleep?  Can you still have fun with friends if you aren’t drinking?  I bet if your friends are the same age as you, they are having the same problem.  You can find another option.  Or get together on Saturday afternoon.

What if you decide that you want to eat ice cream before bed, or you need that wine to relax?  There are some options to help you fall asleep again.

Melatonin

Your body naturally creates Melatonin to fall asleep as it gets darker in the evening.  But you can take synthetic Melatonin to fall asleep again in the middle of the night.  There is an extended release Melatonin which perhaps you could take before going to bed and it may keep you asleep.  This didn’t really work for me, but it does work for some people.  The down side to the extended release is that it sometimes comes with a “hangover” of sorts where you end up yawning and feeling sleepy until noon.

Or you could take the Melatonin right after you wake up.  It takes about an hour to work, but that equals more sleep than you might get without it.  I had given up on waiting just to see if I’d fall asleep on my own.  It just never worked, until maybe 5 a.m.

How to use Melatonin

Not all Melatonin brands are created equal.  I used to take some from the store, but frequently woke up with a headache from it.  I switched to a pharmaceutical grade Melatonin and it made all the difference in the world.  Melatonin also used to give me really intense, bizarre dreams.  That all went away with the higher quality brand.  You can order a higher quality, pharmaceutical grade Melatonin here.

For falling asleep in the middle of the night, I recommend 1 -2 mg of Melatonin to start with.  Taking more will help you fall asleep faster, but you will be really zonked out when it is time to wake up.  So experiment a bit and see what works best for you.  I have 0.5 mg capsules which enable me to experiment more easily.

Homeopathic Options

There are a couple of remedies that are really helpful for acute insomnia.  I emphasized the word “acute” because if you have chronic insomnia, you can try these, but since there are hundreds of insomnia remedies, likely these will NOT be correct.

First remedy you should consider is one called Coffea Cruda.  This is a homeopathic dose of raw coffee beans.  Sometimes homeopathic remedies have effects that are opposite of their material dose.  This is one instance.  (There are some people that actually are calmed down by the caffeine in coffee, but that is a future blog post!)  Coffea is a remedy for “ailments from too much joy.”  Imagine the fun of sitting with some girlfriends in your kitchen or coffee shop, drinking coffee and having a good time.  Taking Homeopathic Coffea Cruda 30c if you wake up in the middle of the night should help you get back to sleep in short order if this is a well matched remedy for you.

If you are having that glass of wine or two in the evening because you are feeling stressed and want to relax, then homeopathic Nux Vomica 30c would be a better choice to help you go to sleep again if you wake up.  Anxiety and irritability, and also a desire for stimulants, are all symptoms of Nux Vomica.  There is some overlap between these two remedies.  People who need Nux Vomica also like to party.

Take a dose either of these remedies if you wake up in the middle of the night.  It should help you go back to sleep quickly.  Either of the remedies can help if you found you drank that cup of coffee a little too late in the day and are having trouble falling asleep at bedtime.  Click here for information on How To Take Homeopathic Remedies.

What About Some Wine Once in Awhile?

I found that once I had a good menopausal Homeopathic remedy, my blood sugar stayed more stable and I was able to have an occasional glass of wine in the evening and not have my sleep affected by it.

So if you have decided that wine and cake are important, I recommend you schedule an appointment with a classical homeopath to get your blood sugar regulated.  The bonus side effect of taking a well matched remedy is wellness.  Imagine that.  Wellness instead of Cancer that may come from HRT.  You probably will even find that you don’t NEED that glass of wine in the evening to relax.  So even though you could drink it, you may find you don’t even think to pour open the fridge and grab that bottle of Rose’ that is chilling.

If you are waking due to anxiety, or hot flashes or night sweats, homeopathy can help that too!

Or, what if you aren’t drinking wine or eating sweets before bed.  And you are still waking up at 2 a.m., unable to fall asleep again.  Then I definitely recommend a consult at Lotus Homeopathy to find a remedy that matches your symptoms to balance your hormones, make you sleep better, and get on the road to health.

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