The Complex Trio: How ADHD, Autism, and Menopause Impact Sleep.

menopause, adhd, autism and sleep

For many women (myself included), menopause brings a wave of changes, and disrupted sleep is often a frustrating symptom. I found it to be the hardest symptom of menopause to cope with, and HRT didn’t help. But what if you also have to navigate the complexities of ADHD or autism? This trifecta can create a perfect storm for sleep issues. Here’s why and what you can do to reclaim restful nights.

  • Menopause and Sleep: Fluctuations in estrogen and progesterone during menopause can disrupt the body’s natural sleep-wake cycle, leading to hot flashes, night sweats, and difficulty falling asleep1.
  • ADHD and Sleep: People with ADHD often experience hyperarousal, making it difficult to wind down before bed. Additionally, sleep problems can worsen ADHD symptoms like inattention and impulsivity1.
  • Autism and Sleep: Sensory sensitivities and social anxiety can make it challenging to relax and fall asleep. Disruptions in routine, a common feature of autism, can further exacerbate sleep problems.

These conditions can create a vicious cycle. Poor sleep can worsen ADHD symptoms like inattention and impulsivity, making it harder to manage daily tasks and stress, which can then further disrupt sleep. Similarly, sleep deprivation can exacerbate anxiety and sensory sensitivities in individuals with autism.

  • Establish a Consistent Sleep Schedule: Go to bed and wake up at the same time each day, even on weekends, to regulate your body’s natural sleep-wake cycle2.
  • Create a Relaxing Bedtime Routine: Develop a calming pre-sleep ritual that includes taking a warm bath, reading a book, or practising gentle stretches.
  • Optimise Your Sleep Environment: Make your bedroom cool, dark, and quiet. Invest in blackout curtains, earplugs, and a comfortable mattress3.
  • Manage Menopausal Symptoms: Talk to your doctor about options to manage hot flashes and night sweats, such as hormone replacement therapy (HRT) or lifestyle modifications like avoiding caffeine and spicy foods before bed4.
  • Address Underlying ADHD/Autism Needs: Consider cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) to manage ADHD symptoms and build healthy sleep habits. For individuals with autism, addressing sensory sensitivities and creating predictable routines can promote better sleep.
  • Light and Exercise: Get regular exposure to natural light during the day, but avoid screens in the evening. Regular exercise, ideally several hours before bedtime, can improve sleep quality.

While HRT did get rid of the night sweats pretty much immediately, I still really struggled with sleep. It was definitely the most debilitating symptom of menopause, which I now know was due to my ADHD too. Over the last 8 years, I’ve tried a lot of aids to try and help. The below two ensure I always have a great night’s sleep.

  • This Works Sleep Plus Pillow Spray: A supersized, fast-acting, motion-activated sleep spray for restless sleepers. 99% natural with encapsulated Lavender, Camomile and Vetivert essential oils, shown to help restore normal sleep patterns. I cannot recommend this highly enough for helping you just get off to sleep every evening. £38.00, 100ml.
  • Nu Mind Wellness Menopause Supplement: #AFF An all-in-one formula combines 40 scientifically backed ingredients expertly blended to effectively manage the symptoms of perimenopause, menopause & beyond. One daily sachet delivers 6 powerful formulas – a multivitamin, minerals, adaptogens, flower remedies, menopause support blend and more – working together to help you reclaim your calm during menopause. This for me was an absolute game-changer and has transformed my sleep! I couldn’t be without these supplements. £79.00, 30-day supply (or save 25% using my affiliate link above).

Remember, you’re not alone! Millions of women navigate this complex web of challenges. By understanding the connections between ADHD, autism, menopause, and sleep, you can implement strategies to promote better rest and reclaim your well-being.

If you fancy trying the Nu Mind Menopause then I’m giving away 2 x one-month supply over on my Instagram, so head on over to be in with a chance of winning!

  1. ADHD, Menopause and Insomnia | ADHD, Menopause and Me ( ↩︎
  2. Sleep Hygiene – What is it? | Wellbeing | ADHD, Menopause and Me ( ↩︎
  3. How Much Sleep Do You Need? | Sleep Foundation ↩︎
  4. Perimenopause Diet | 5 Things I’ve cut from my diet | How Felicity Finds ( ↩︎

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