Insomnia and the Menopause – Oestrogen Decline and Mineral Deficiency

Insomnia is a well known effect of the menopause and it often related to those symptoms that can keep you uncomfortable at night. These include things like night-sweats, hot flushes, excessive tiredness (probably because you aren’t sleeping …!) and anxiety. As these symptoms are related to the decline in oestrogen, it then follows that insomnia which is caused as a result of either menopausal symptoms or the menopause itself will similarly be created due to the same drop in oestrogen levels.

However, there also seems to be an emerging link between oestrogen deficiency and deficiency of key minerals from the body and in the case of insomnia, magnesium in particular. Chronic insomnia is a well known symptom of magnesium deficiency. According to the Journal of American College of Nutrition, oestrogen enhances the uptake of magnesium by the body.

Research by the Human Nutrition Research Center in North Dakota has shown that a high magnesium diet has been associated with deeper, and less interrupted sleep. Magnesium absorption by the body has also been improved by increased intake of calcium and it is recommended that the two should be taken together.

The following are a lists of foods which are high in the mineral magnesium:

  • Cooked beans
  • Bananas and apples
  • Broccoli
  • Halibut
  • Brazil nuts, almonds, walnuts and peanuts
  • Okra
  • Oysters
  • Scallops
  • Pumpkin and squash seeds
  • Soya milk
  • Spinach and other green leafy vegetables
  • Tofu
  • Whole grain cereals
  • Whole wheat breads

You may want to increase your intake of these foods in combination with a supplement of some description.

The recommended daily intake of Magnesium in women in the UK is 270mg and in the US is 310mg, however it has been suggested that the average intake is less than 230mgs per day.


  1. Please can you help me .I had a hysterectomy (not ovaries) in 2006 , I have Leiden V mutation and I have been going through the menopause since 2009. I cannot have any HRT replacement. I am struggling with insomnia with bad night sweats every two hours every night . I work full time in an incoming call centre sitting for 8 hour shifts. The shifts change weekly I have to be available to work between the hours of 07:00 start to 19:00 finish. I have been putting on weight especially around my waist. I am desperate for some advise and help with this stressful situation, can you help with how I can make realistic changes to give some relief and look after myself?

  2. Hi I had real bad stomach problems in peri-menopause and always had bad headaches especially around the time of the month and they still bad 5 months after my Total Hysterectomy, on oral HRT and I am taking a cheap Asda’s B complex and magnesium (300mg) once a day plus I have been trying Slippery elm powder, do you think I should take a better quality pills and how much

  3. Having recently had vaginal hysterectomy at age 66 years (9 years from menopause) I am experiencing night sweats which I didn’t even experience during the menopause – is this possible after hysterectomy (ovaries intact)

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