Aging gracefully is often the expectation, but as a woman gets older, grace may be harder to come by, especially as she goes through menopause. This can be the most challenging part of a woman’s life, and good moods and sleep can be negatively affected. Sleepless nights and dark days may leave her wondering if there is hope for a better tomorrow, especially during menopause.  Thankfully, however, there is hope for feeling great and sleeping soundly during “the change.” As usual, avoiding conventional medications and incorporating optimal nutrition is key. Certain nutrients will be more helpful than others, and healthy lifestyle habits will also be critical.

Common symptoms of menopause start around 45-50 years of age and are typically hot flashes, night sweats, missed periods, low libido, mood swings, fatigue and hair loss. Hot flashes and night sweats can cause sleepless nights since they often happen in the middle of the night. Missed periods and low libido may leave you pondering the years that have passed by and how you used to feel. Mood swings, fatigue and hair loss can all contribute to feelings of depression and anxiety, even when there is nothing in particular to be sad about. These are all signs of menopause, and thankfully they can be treated naturally with bioidentical hormones, good nutrition and a healthy lifestyle.

Bioidentical estrogen is probably the most helpful treatment option to consider for lessening menopause symptoms. The right, high quality estrogen supplement can help fight hot flashes, night sweats and other typical menopause symptoms. Hotze Pharmacy is one of the top compounding pharmacies in Texas, so this is a good option for optimal results. Don’t take synthetic estrogen. It’s not the same as what your body makes. Your body won’t know what to do with it, and it winds up being processed as a toxin. It does MUCH more harm than good. Your liver will use up vitamins and antioxidants to detox the drugs and there will be less nutrition available for better moods and deeper sleep. Some symptoms could even get worse. The best plan is to go ALL natural and commit to improving your body’s hormone and nutrition levels rather than just treating symptoms. 

Eating healthy is the best medicine, and is truly a key to optimal health, whether during menopause or at any point of life. The best foods for nutritional support during menopause will be foods that are high protein, high fiber, low carb and full of vitamins and minerals.  Bright colors indicate high antioxidant levels which supports lower inflammation and hormone balance. Focus on foods like kale, blueberries, strawberries, oranges, apples, and blueberries. Yams, salmon, cucumbers, flax seed, squash, zucchini, olives, and cauliflower are also fantastic for hormone support. Also incorporate eggs and organic dairy products if you aren’t allergic to dairy. Organic, grass-fed beef and free-range chicken will also be helpful.

Great moods and deep sleep are both functions of a healthy brain. Neurotransmitters and balanced hormones are both at work when you experience optimal moods and sleep. However, as we age, these levels decline and it becomes more and more important to support our bodies with peak nutrition. The healthy foods listed above will support better neurotransmitter levels, and certain supplements can be game changers as far as getting quick results for moods and sleep.

Here are a few supplements for optimal moods and sleep during menopause:

Try 5-HTP. That’s short for 5-hydroxytryptophan. Deep sleep and better moods go hand in hand, and are important for smooth days and a happy, fulfilling life. 5-HTP can help with both. It’s a natural antidepressant and amino acid metabolite that helps produce higher levels of serotonin. Serotonin is your feel-good neurotransmitter. When serotonin levels are healthy, anxiety is out of the picture. Prescription antidepressants artificially raise serotonin levels and ultimately cause a neurotransmitter deficiency. This can worsen depression or even cause suicidal thoughts. 5-HTP supports natural serotonin production to increase levels and boost moods. When anxiety is low and thoughts are happy, the brain has an easier time slowing down. Better sleep is likely. Taking a natural approach for sleep and moods is extremely important, especially during menopause as your body may be more sensitive to the toxicity of over-the-counter or prescription options. 5-HTP is a good option to help improve both moods and sleep naturally. 

Inositol is another natural solution that helps with both moods and sleep. Inositol is a water-soluble vitamin in the B vitamin family. It’s actually a relative to niacin. It helps support the GABA neurotransmitter which is like the rhythm center of the brain. When life gets crazy busy and our thoughts are all over the place, Inositol can help us slow down mind chatter and organize our thoughts. It tends to improve moods AND focus. 

Dr Hotze’s Sleep Formula is definitely our most popular and effective solution for deeper, longer sleep. The main active ingredient is tryptophan, which is the same nutrient that’s in turkey, and makes us feel sleepy after Thanksgiving dinner. The formula also contains valerian root, which is a natural sleep enhancer, and B vitamins for enhanced nutrient uptake. Customers often order 2-3 bottles at one time, because they do not want to run out of the product! 

Magnesium Glycinate is another supplement that helps both moods and sleep. Women generally need to take 600-800 mg of magnesium daily for optimal levels. Magnesium is a master nutrient which regulates over 300 functions in the body, including healthy hormone levels. For example, if your body wants to produce more estrogen or progesterone, but magnesium levels are low due to drinking coffee, eating sugar or working out, then it literally cannot make enough hormones for you to feel balanced. You may feel moody, edgy, anxious, or even depressed. You can also have trouble relaxing before bed time. However, taking Magnesium daily in an optimal dose can help balance hormones and improve moods and sleep. 

Here are a few lifestyle tips for optimal moods and sleep:

1. Hydrate! Being dehydrated is one of the most common reasons for low energy and low moods. Drink 8-10 glasses of water per day for optimal hydration. Hydration is also essential for good circulation.

2. Get moving. Working out increases levels of the feel-good neurotransmitters. For example, cardio increases serotonin and weight lifting increases dopamine. Dopamine is the “get it done” neurotransmitter that’s helpful on a busy work day. Getting plenty of exercise earlier in the day can also help you to feel tired at bedtime.

3. Eat healthy at least 80% of the time. That’s high protein, very low carbs, and as many fruits and vegetables as you can manage. If you want to feel good 100% of the time then eat healthy 100% of the time. The Hotze Optimal Eating Plan (Yeast-Free Diet) is the best plan to stick to.

4. Take your vitamins daily. When you miss a day your body has to work harder to make up the difference. It can take several days to get your nutrient levels back to optimal.

5. Turn off screens at least 30 minutes before bedtime. The lights from our screens suppress sleep hormones and cause sleeplessness. Intense action movies can surge adrenal hormones before bed and make sleep even harder.

Optimal nutrition and a healthy lifestyle during menopause can make all the difference in how you feel. If you let yourself get stressed and anxious, and then eat unhealthy food for comfort, you will feel terrible. If you eat as healthy as possible, get active, and take the right supplements and bioidentical hormones, life can be a lot easier than you think.

What’s one thing you think you should do to support your own optimal health and hormone levels?