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Solutions for Seven Symptoms of Perimenopause

Sleep Disturbances

Sleep Disturbances: Hot flashes or night sweats can cause sleep disturbances such as awakening in the middle of the night and early morning.
Susan Lark, M.D. Ann Louise Gittleman (ALG) Christiane Northrup, M.D.
Valerian root:150-300 mg about 45 minutes before bed has a mild sedative effect, but also dries out tissues.

Passionflower:Maintains blood levels of serotonin, the brain neurochemical that promotes sleep. Make a tea of 1 tsp. of dried passionflower leaves before bed.

5-HTP: (5-hydroxytryptophan) an amino acid and precursor to serotonin. Try 50-100 mg to help you sleep.

Chamomile: Reduces anxiety. Steep 2-3 heaping tsp. of chamomile flowers in 1 cup of boiling water.

Kava root: A potent sedative and anti-anxiety herb. Try 140 mg before bed.

Aromatherapy with lavender: Lavender increases the alpha brain waves associated with relaxation. Add lavender oil to a bedtime bath.

Melatonin:Produced by the pineal gland, the hormone that regulates the body's natural rhythms. Take 1 mg at bedtime.

Many symptoms of perimenopause are due to imbalances in blood sugar. To balance blood sugar, include protein, fats (olive oil and flaxseed oil) and low- glycemic carbohydrates at all meals. Breakfast could be a protein source (eggs, smoothie) and a slice of whole grain or sprouted grain toast with a pat of butter or drizzle of flaxseed oil. At lunch and dinner include at least 3-4 oz. of lean protein from fish, poultry, beef, lamb, seafood or tofu/tempeh and one tbsp. of olive or flaxseed oil or nuts or seeds such as almonds, sunflower seeds. Eat lots of steamed veggies of various colors (spinach, squash or sweet potato or peas, red peppers, cabbage, eggplant) and a leafy green salad. Dessert could be fresh fruit or a frozen fruit dish.
Low magnesium status has been linked to poor sleep. Take 400 mg in oxide form before bed.
Natural Progesterone: ¼-½ teaspoon at bedtime.

Kava Kava: 150-210 mg 1 hour before bedtime.

Valerian: If kava kava does not work add valerian in capsule form, 150-300 mg of a product standardized to 0.8 percent valerenic acid at bedtime.

Melatonin: 0.5-3.0 taken one hour before bedtime. Bedroom must be dark for melatonin to work.

5-HTP: Start with 100 mg 3 times daily and gradually increase over several months to 200 mg.

Northrup notes that even natural aids are not drugs and often take weeks to work. They also lose their efficacy over time, so use them sparingly and consider how diet, exercise, bedtime rituals and removing emotional stress may be contributing to poor sleep.