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Articles on Menopause & Perimenopause

Sleepless Nights?
Progesterone May Help You
Say Good Night to Insomnia!

Sleep is important for our body because it helps to maintain the body’s circadian rhythm (the body’s internal clock). It is also the time period where our brain can rest. If we get fewer than 7 hours of sleep per night, our sleep pattern become unstable. In addition, our brain will not release chemicals necessary for hormone balance. Therefore, not enough sleep can leave you hormonally imbalanced.

Sleeping medications are one of the top prescriptions written for women today. Bear in mind that any drug that is available by prescription only is a synthetic drug. Not only can it be addictive, but may likely cause other harmful effects to your body. In addition, you may sleep through the night, but your sleep may be dreamless as it is artificially induced, indicating that you are not entering the all-important REM stage. This is not to mention the after-effects that many women feel the next morning – a groggy, “hung-over” feeling.
Prescription sleeping medications are rapidly addictive to many women.


Women in peri-menopause and menopause often need progesterone to stabilize their sleep patterns. Women may experience insomnia or lack of sleep because their progesterone levels are low. Conversely, an “estrogen-dominant” condition may overly stimulate the brain causing insomnia.

Low levels of progesterone also increase anxiety and depression that can affect your sleep habits, as serotonin is a sleep-inducing hormone which is not manufactured correctly in a depressed person.

It is a fact that during ovulation the levels of progesterone are at its peak and thus women tend to feel sleepier. During peri-menopause, when progesterone levels are fluctuating, using natural progesterone may help you get a good night’s sleep.

During and after menopause, progesterone levels fall to almost zero. If you are producing estrogen in your fat cells and/or absorbing xenoestrogens from the environment, the abnormal estrogen/progesterone level may cause chronic insomnia.
Again, natural progesterone has helped many women obtain a good, deep night’s sleep.

Other ways to help establish a good sleep pattern

  • Try to sleep and wake up at the same time each day to regulate your internal clock.

  • Increase daytime exercise.

  • Avoid caffeine. If you can’t eliminate it, try to stop consuming it after noon.

  • Try to make your sleeping area dark and cool.

  • Turn off all lights and screens, even avoiding glow-in-the-dark alarm clocks, or turn these clocks toward the wall before retiring. Complete darkness helps your body produce melatonin properly. Melatonin is the “sleep” hormone.

  • Avoid alcohol

  • Melatonin supplementation may be very helpful.

  • A supplement containing valerian and hops taken at bedtime can help induce a restful sleep


The physiologic dose (approximately 40 mg. per day) is as follows:

Use ¼ teaspoon twice daily (of a cream containing 480-500 mg. of USP progesterone per ounce). Women report that applying the nightly dose to the back of the neck or just below the ears results in restful sleep patterns. Apply nightly dose at least 1 hour before bedtime.


Densele, R., et al. “Sleep in Menopause: Differential Effects of Two Forms of Hormone Replacement Therapy.” Menopause: The Journal of The North American Menopause Society, vol. 8 no. 1 (2001): 10-16.

John R. Lee Medical Newsletter