During menopause your ovaries slowly decrease their production of two hormones, estrogen and progesterone, the latter of which promotes sleep. When those hormone levels drop, it can be very unsettling to your system and make it hard to sleep. A drop in estrogen also leaves you more vulnerable to stress, another disturbance to your slumber.
As a sleep therapist in Sebastian, Fla., Butler runs a monthly support group for insomniacs, talking to patients about sleep hygiene and coping strategies. Unfortunately she had to take her own advice when she suddenly began waking up at 2 a.m. every morning.
Short of taking replacement hormones or low-dose birth control pills to even out your estrogen levels, there isn't much you can medically do about your shifting hormones. Acupuncture, shiatsu massage, and yoga are worth a try; they help some women feel more settled and relaxed.