Recovery from insomnia after menopause - Andrea's Story
Andrea’s sleep problem in brief:
+ 10 years of sleep problems since menopause
+ Interrupted / little sleep most nights, some nights no sleep at all
+ Feeling that turning off the light and putting her head on the pillow seemed to ‘wake up’ her brain, even when she felt exhausted
+ ‘Foggy head’, memory struggles, ‘the colour had drained out of my world’, racing mind
+ No success with sleeping tablets and didn’t want to pursue medications further
+ Also experiencing severe muscle pain
Andrea would struggle to get to sleep and would wake up after a short amount of time once she had dropped off. She would then be awake for a few hours before possibly dropping off again before she would wake up at 5am for the day. On a bad night she wouldn't get any sleep at all. After years of her sleep following this pattern she was exhausted. She described that 'the colour had drained out of my world'. Unsurprisingly, she was overwhelmed, felt very emotional and described thinking through a fog.
In her words…
Describe how things were for you just before you started working with Emma (e.g., how long the problem had been going on for, how much sleep you were getting, how you were feeling).
I had been struggling with chronic insomnia for over 10 years. This coincided with two significant events in my life, the onset of an early menopause and a very stressful relationship breakdown within the family over which I had very little control. Over the subsequent years the family situation did ease but my sleep pattern never returned to ‘normal’ and most nights I was having interrupted and little sleep and some nights I would get no sleep at all. I was also experiencing quite severe muscle pain throughout my body. This left me feeling continually under par. I felt as though my head was ‘foggy’ and I couldn’t focus or maintain concentration properly. I felt quite low at times and it felt as though the colour had drained out of my world. I had been to the GP and tried medication but unsuccessfully and really didn’t want to pursue medication as a long term solution. A series of small but significant missed social appointments and failure to remember to do things which I had said I would do led me to look for help from an outside source and in the course of researching therapy, as recommended by a friend, I came across Emma’s website and got in touch before I had time to change my mind!
Describe how things are for you now. What has changed?
Since working with Emma I feel so much better in myself. I thought I had dealt with a lot of the issues which may have been preventing me from sleeping well but with Emma’s input I was able to see that I had merely buried a lot of the hurt deep down inside and that was manifesting itself through both physical symptoms of pain but also an inability to sleep well. That combined with the menopause had led to a poor sleep pattern which had then become my normal sleep habit. After only two weeks I was already sleeping better and feeling so much ‘lighter’ in my mood. After 5 weeks I am now sleeping more and awake less in the night and I am also falling to sleep much quicker as well.
If you could go back and give yourself a piece of advice or support when you were struggling, what would it be?
If I had sought help much earlier on I am convinced a lot of the physical muscle pain and lack of sleep could have been prevented.
Are there any other comments you would like to make?
Thank you so much Emma for your gentle leading, of which I was unaware, which enabled me to be completely honest with you but especially with myself about unresolved issues. On reflection you allowed me to find the answers, which were inside me all along, but which I couldn’t have found without you!!
A note from Emma
Menopause is a common trigger for insomnia - the other symptoms pass but the sleep problems persist. Unfortunately, this problem is unlikely to rectify itself as you need to retrain your body and mind in a structured manner to sleep well at night. Once Andrea addressed this, she was able to to fix her sleep really quickly. Just because the sleep problems started around the menopause or at a certain age does not mean you are stuck with it - you can rediscover good, natural sleep.