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‘We got on top of our sleep – now you can too!’

We all know a good night’s sleep is essential to our wellbeing but getting a enough of it in midlife isn’t easy. We spoke to five women who sorted their menopause sleep issues about their very different approaches to help you figure out what will work for you.

“My support network helped me figure it out.”


Lisa Talbot, 54, a personal stylist from Maidenhead

‘I never needed much sleep – six or seven hours always worked for me. But at 47 I started struggling to get even that. I’d wake because I was hot, then stay up thinking about work or stressing about my children’s GCSEs. The next day I’d have no energy or focus, and by 4pm I’d hit a wall of tiredness. When my hairdresser asked how I was I replied ‘exhausted!’

She suggested magnesium, which did help. Then a colleague recommended lavender night cream – the relaxing scent really did make a difference. Then I found a supplement that contained vitamins B6 and B12, sage, ginseng and other herbal ingredients. I wasn’t sure if it was just hype, so I showed it to another friend who has a background in biochemistry. We ran through the pros and cons and I decided to try it. This combination, as well as a breathing technique I found online, has really worked for me. I feel so much better and my energy levels are back to normal. It’s great that we can chat and share information about menopause. We don’t have to suffer in silence – we can share what we’ve learned and find a solution.’

“Looking after your vaginal health is vital”

Josa Keyes, 65, a writer and creative writing tutor from London

‘Childbirth was not kind to my pelvic floor – I have three children and things were never the same after that. When menopause came at 50 I was constantly getting up at night to pee. HRT helped, but nine years later I was diagnosed with oestrogen-positive breast cancer and stopped HRT immediately.

My treatment was successful but when I came off Tamoxifen I instantly developed menopause symptoms, including vaginal atrophy, frequent urination and constant, maddening urinary tract infections – which all disturbed my sleep.

I invested in a pelvic exerciser which uses neuromuscular electric stimulation – tiny pulses of electricity – to tone things up. That really helped.

Then I found two utterly amazing things which changed my life. Firstly, I discovered you could use Estriol vaginal cream* even if you’ve had oestrogen-positive breast cancer. I also started taking a lactobacillus supplement – ‘healthy bacteria’ to help repair my vaginal microbiome. I haven’t had a UTI since. I am so much more comfortable and sleep much better, I only get up to pee once at most. I even took up running, which I’d never have been able to do without looking after my vaginal health!’

“I worked out a killer combination of solutions”

Tej Patel, 41, a personal trainer from Harrow

‘I’m a personal trainer, I eat and exercise well, but when perimenopause started I started suffering from disrupted sleep. I’m an anxious overthinker, always on the go, with clients all day then working on the business until 11pm at night. Something had to change.

As a trainer I talk about habit stacking – you start with one change, then when that’s established you add another. I noticed that I was at my sleepiest after the Epsom salts bath I took to ease muscle strain, so I moved bath-time closer to bedtime. Then I added a magnesium supplement. Hey presto – sleep was still short, but better quality.

After that, I added deep breathing exercises – a double inhale with long exhale was a game-changer! Again, I started with just five minutes, working up to more. I banned all devices for an hour before bedtime. During the day I did less cardio and shortened my strength sessions to lower physical stress. The killer combo of solutions started working.

Recently, I’ve also started using a chat group for accountability. They make sure I’m in bed before 11pm! If I can get a good night’s sleep eight out of 10 nights, I feel I’m in control.’

“I tapped my way to better rest”

Louisa Hussey, 44, a menopause and EFT coach from Manchester

‘I was 36 and newly married when I found out I was going into early menopause. It was a stressful, horrible time and I was constantly waking at night, my nightclothes and sheets drenched in sweat.

Fatigue started to rule my life. I declined invitations for fear of being too tired to go, or making myself tired by going. I was getting into bed already stressed about whether I’d sleep!

At the time I was so caught up with fertility treatment – I had my daughter in 2017 – I didn’t consider HRT. But after I went back to work I signed up for a confidence-boosting course. The woman running it introduced Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT) tapping – a technique where you relieve stress by tapping points of the body. I tried it and it felt like a spell had lifted! The effect was instantaneous.

I now have a routine of tapping, breathing exercises and mantras like ‘this can wait.’ HRT has stopped the night sweats, but tapping eases my anxiety and overwhelm – the emotional part of menopause that HRT doesn’t really touch for me. I’ve even trained as an EFT and menopause coach so I can share what I’ve learned.’

“Bone broth sends me off”

Cat Merrick, 44, a yoga teacher from Shrewsbury

‘Over the last 18 months the quality of my sleep nose-dived – I was waking up to four times a night – sometimes because I was hot, other times a sound, like my husband’s snoring – would wake me, then I wouldn’t be able to drop off again.

I changed to a special pillow, bought earplugs and started HRT, which all helped a little, but I was still so exhausted I was struggling to get through the day, and tiredness was making my eczema much worse.

I started drinking bone broth every morning to help my eczema but when I read online that it has an amino acid called glycine* which can help improve sleep, I decided to try one before bedtime. That night I slept through undisturbed. After three nights’ solid sleep I felt like a new person. I hadn’t realised how bad it had got!

Now I have a regular routine – a hot bath with a magnesium soak and a cup of bone broth. You never know what’s going to work until you try it!’

My Menopause Co-Founder Dr Clare Spencer reveals her top tips for a good night’s sleep

Nutritionist Emma Bardwell reveals the importance of good nutrition in the menopause

Worries keeping you awake at night? This advice will help

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