The Best Sleep You’ll Ever Have…….is in your grasp and so simple              by Robert G Carlson, M.D., Andlos Institute

Do you have trouble falling asleep? Or perhaps you’re able to fall asleep, but then plagued by constantly waking up throughout the night, resulting in a broken, restless sleep that leaves you feeling like a zombie the next morning?

Have you been given sleeping pills to help with your sleep, pills that leave you spaced out, like you’re moving in slow motion and not fully rested?  Not being able to sleep is critical, resulting in loss of memory, ineffective work habits, and increasing irritability. Starting in their early 40’s, women are in commonly plagued with sleeping problems. The answer is really quite simple. About ten years before menopause, ladies progesterone levels start to plummet. This sets them up for sleepless nights. Progesterone, natural progesterone that is soy-based, not the peanut oil pharmaceutical progesterone Prometrium, provides improvement in sleep, dramatic reduction in irritability (who wouldn’t be irritable if you can’t sleep and remain exhausted), reduction in headaches and the reduction in the signs of estrogen dominance.  Besides natural progesterone, NOT synthetic progestins like Prempro or Provera, has now been shown to reduce breast and uterine cancer, reduce cholesterol and reduce heart disease. And it also makes you feel better!

Sleep medicines don’t deal with the real underlying causes of why women are having trouble sleeping as they get older. The major reason is because progesterone levels are so low.  Progesterone is like nature’s valium, it is the Feng-Shui of hormones providing calmness and relaxation, factors critical in falling asleep.

With women who are either perimenopausal(which can be up to 10 years before menopause), menopausal, or suffering from surgically induced menopause (hysterectomy), the progesterone levels can drop to such  low , immeasurable level that ladies simply can’t sleep. It often takes women an hour or more to get to sleep or they find themselves waking up throughout the night.

So how does Bio-identical Hormone Replacement Therapy (BHRT) help? When natural progesterone is taken as a pill, versus in the cream, it travels to the brain and interacts with the GABA receptors. These receptors when activated naturally promote sleep and help patients reach the restorative sleep (REM sleep) more quickly.

How does Hormone Replacement Therapy with progesterone differ from taking sleeping pills when it comes to the quality of sleep a woman might expect?   Sleeping pills are synthetic, not natural. There is nothing natural about them, and because of that the natural restorative REM sleep  is never achieved.  Oh yes, sleeping pills will help you get to sleep, but they don’t get the quality of sleep achieved naturally. When I treat women struggling with sleep issues in their 40’s and 50’s, sleep undoubtedly affected by progesterone levels, one of the most common responses I hear after starting progesterone is  ‘This is the best sleep I’ve ever had’.

How quickly can patients expect results? I have seen patients experience results very quickly. Sometimes within the first one or two doses. They often can’t believe how rested they are when they wake up and want to get rid of their sleeping pills as soon as possible.

One patient of mine, Erika is a perfect example of the difference a good night’s sleep can make. In her early fifties, I met Erika with major concerns of “I just can’t sleep”.   She had been experiencing “on and off sleep” – waking up frequently throughout the night for years. Essentially sleep deprived. The lack of sleep was making her feel older than her years, and mentally and physically exhausted. She told me, “It was horrible and very hard to function.”

After only a few weeks of bio-identical hormone replacement therapy, Erika reported to me with excitement in her voice, “I can sleep now. I can think clearly now. It’s unbelievable.” Though still dealing with the stresses and pressures of before, she finds it easier to deal with now she has the benefit of a full and restful night’s sleep.  “I really do feel like this very huge dark cloud has been lifted, thanks to you, Dr. Carlson.” She said fighting off tears of joy. “I see everything in a different view.”   Her words of encouragement to ladies struggling with menopause and sleeping problems are: “I’m sleeping through the night and feeling like I’m back in my twenties or thirties. It’s amazing.”