Thanks for all the comments and support regarding sleep and the lack of it. Believe it or not, it makes it easier to know that others have similar problems, and it helps a lot to hear what you're doing about it. I did know that insomnia is a symptom of menopause, but I don't think I really understood how crazy and unsteady prolonged lack of sleep can make you feel until recently.
When I was in school (just ten short years ago), I often pulled an all-nighter to get a paper or a project done. Even though I had kids to deal with and a household to run, I could easily catch up on sleep the next day. I'd also frequently work late into the night, when no one needed me, and then take a hot bath at 2 or 3 a.m. in order to relax enough to get to sleep. For years, I've had trouble settling down enough to sleep. I'm really a night owl and I relish those quiet hours when you can get a lot done because everyone else is sleeping. And I'm one of those nose-to-the-grindstone people who does everything she can to meet the deadline.
The trouble is, I'm fifty-four and I work full time. Naps in the afternoon are not possible. Nor is sleeping late the morning after. Add a tendency toward bad sleep hygiene, a real grown-up job where the expectations are high, and the symptoms of menopause together and you will get the maniacal insomniac of last Friday.
But the good news is I've been sleeping without the sleeping pills. Last night I was even able to go back to sleep after being awakened at 1 a.m. by the heavy-footed-one who noisily trundled downstairs to turn off the heater. Now it may be premature to say so, but I think the following actions have made a difference:
1. Started taking two supplements again (calcium-magnesium and Estroven)
2. Increased exercise (longer weekend walks, extra lunchtime walks, and gardening)
3. Better sleep hygiene (in bed by 11 p.m. at the latest)
4. Increased exposure to daylight (I raised the blind in my cubicle)
5. Less wine (not no wine, just less)
For the moment - and I'm really knocking wood now - it's working.
Zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzleeping is mahvelous.