Posted by: Daniella | 2013-02-04


I am a 54 yr old female and have experienced menopausal symptoms for the past two years. I have always been a light sleeper and experience mild insomnia from time to time, and have never taken medication for it. However since the onset of menopause the insomnia has become worse to the point where over the past 3 weeks it has effected my quality of life, and I can''t get to sleep or remain asleep without aid even if I''m exhausted after physical activity (I run about 40 - 50 kms per week on average). I do tend to be very sleepy around 8.30 pm and sometimes can''t prevent dozing but when I go to bed at around 11.00 pm I lie awake for hours. A pharmacist recommended that I try a melatonin supplement to regulate my sleep pattern. Is melatonin effective and safe for long-term use? I am otherwise healthy, fit, prone to low blood pressure and not taking any medication apart from an iron supplement and omega 3. Your opinion would be sincerely appreciated, thanks.

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Our expert says:
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I would not advise melatonin. It can be effective in certain cases, but there are still many unanswered questions.

Menopause is a time when sleep disorders often happen, however the effects will usually dissipate after about 2 years. It is important to maintain good sleep hygiene during this time, as this will usually be very effective in ameliorating the problem.

A sleep doctor will be able to help you with this.

Except in particular circumstances, we try to avoid sedatives, as they frequently become habit-forming.

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