The Good News About Menopause 

Each woman experiences menopause in different ways; some women experience no symptoms, while others may experience some or all of them – all at varying degrees of intensity. Patients and providers can work together to identify the best treatment options, even when non-medication treatments aren’t working.   


Recommended Lifestyle & Behavioral Changes for Decreased Hot Flushes, Better Mood and Better Sleep

  • Weight loss in overweight women can lead to fewer hot flushes and decrease the risk of breast cancer. 

  • Daily exercise is associated with decreased flush frequency and severity, and shorter duration. But be prepared: strenuous activity can trigger hot flushes. 

  • Avoid caffeine, alcohol, spicy foods and nicotine, especially at bedtime. 

  • Dress in cool breathable layers, wicking pajamas (controls moisture). 

  • Maintain good sleep hygiene including nightly rituals, comfortable temperature, noise control, reduced light, limit screens and non-sleeping, non-bedroom activity. 

Alternative Medicine Options for Better Mood and Sleep

  • Relaxation, breath work and mindfulness practices, such as meditation, may improve hot flushes and anxiety. 

  • Acupuncture can reduce hot flushes and improve sleep quality. 

  • Melatonin may help with insomnia when used with other sleep hygiene strategies. 

  • Herbal remedies have not been shown to work better than placebo and do not have strong safety data so use with caution. 

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy for Insomnia

  • Working with a certified CBT therapist, you can train your brain to go back to sleep if you wake up in the middle of the night. 

  • Works to treat insomnia as well as or better than medication.

  • Bonus, there are no side effects.

Non-Hormonal Medications for Better Mood and Sleep (Consult Your Doctor) 

  • Use with caution and always under the care of a physician. 

  • Benzodiazepines (i.e., Valium) for occasional use (<3 x weekly) for sleep or mood; more than that and they can be habit-forming. 

  • Nonbenzodiazepine hypnotics (i.e., Ambien, Lunesta) can help for short-term treatment for insomnia but there is no safety data for long-term use. 

  • Classes of mood stabilizers called SSRIs can treat mood disorders and hot flushes; paroxetine (used to treat anxiety) is the only non-hormonal medication with FDA approval to treat hot flushes. 

  • Gabapentin (treats nerve pain) can reduce severity and frequency of hot flushes.