All The Crap I Do To Sleep As A Perimenopausal Woman

When you decide to become a parent, you know there are many months — possibly years! — ahead when you won’t get a good night’s sleep. Now that I’m the parent of an actual teenager, his sleeping is no longer an issue (except for the fact that he now wants to stay up later than me).

But I’ve never been a great sleeper, and now there’s perimenopause in the mix. That means I often struggle to fall asleep, wake up in the middle of the night, or wake up early — sometimes all in the same evening/morning! And oh, what fun it is to wake up in the middle of the night to find oneself drenched in sweat. Unfortunately, night sweats are extremely common for those in the perimenopause or menopause years. So now, I have a whole arsenal of things I try to ensure a good — or at least passable — night’s sleep.

Among them:

A White Noise Machine

Every night, we put on a white noise machine in our bedroom (my son has one in his bedroom, too). I’m not sure when I started using a white noise machine — maybe when I lived on a noisy street in the city that used to have buses going by at all hours and bargoers making a ruckus at closing time — but now I can’t sleep without some white noise. Some people use apps, but I prefer a simple and inexpensive machine like the Dohm for its simple, reliable, sleep-inducing white noise.

Eye mask

I can’t sleep if there is a hint of light, so I will sometimes wear an eye mask to block out any light. This is mandatory if I’m sleeping somewhere else (a relative’s house, a hotel, my beach house — hahaha, I don’t have a beach house).


If you have a partner who snores, earplugs are a must. I’m not saying my partner snores, this is hypothetical. I wear earplugs to block out extraneous noises, I’m not saying what they are or who or where they’re coming from. I have tried all the earplugs and I really like the Loop earplugs, which can be used over and over. The only issue I have is that as someone who tosses and turns a lot while sleeping, I have been known to lose it, never to find it again, even after changing my sheets. Where does it go? I have no clue.


Melatonin is a classic sleep supplement for a reason. I particularly like Olly Extra Strength Sleep, which has melatonin and L-Theanine. I don’t know what that is or what it purports to do, but for some reason these seem to work pretty well.


I suffer from pretty bad seasonal allergies, and Benadryl also makes me drowsy, so I sometimes take a Benadryl before bed. I have heard Benadryl called “the poor (wo)man’s Ambien” before, so make of that what you will.

½ of a CBD gummy

Oh, these actually have 5 mg of THC in them as well! Oops!

Weighted blanket

I am a person who needs to have some kind of covers/weight on me in order to fall asleep, particularly on my feet and legs as I’m prone to foot/leg cramps and restless legs. I don’t use a weighted blanket every night, but sometimes it’s just the ticket to help me get my sleep on.

A bed-in-a-box and some kind of super fluffy pillows

Not long ago, my husband and I realized we hadn’t bought a new mattress since before our kid was born 13 years ago and it was probably high time for a new one. We bought one of those mattresses you buy online and then you take it out of the package and it miraculously expands. It is very comfortable. Honestly, my husband bought the super fluffy pillows, I have no idea what they are or where he got them.

Embr Wave 2

I am someone who is never at the right temperature. The Embr Wave 2 is a gadget you wear on your wrist and you can press a button for instant cooling or heating. Does it work? Yes — to a point. It’s never going to make you feel like you’re on a tropical island if you’re standing in a snow bank, or make you feel like you’re standing in a walk-in freezer if it’s 100 degrees outside. But if you’re someone who can’t fall asleep because you’re freezing, yet you wake up in the middle of the night drenched in sweat, this little device can help you regulate your temperature.

Sleep With Me Podcast

Last, but certainly not least, is the Sleep With Me Podcast. This podcast is hosted by Scooter (Drew Ackerman) who tells rambling, just-boring-enough stories using “creaky, dulcet tones” and he promises to keep you company while you fall asleep. He calls himself “your borefriend.” When you just can’t turn your brain off, or maybe someone near you is snoring loudly (not that this scenario ever happens to me, again, it’s hypothetical), I recommend the Sleep With Me podcast. I listen to it with wireless sleep headphones and I set a timer on my podcast app for it to turn off after a few hours (I recently tried a wireless “sleep bar” but it didn’t work for me with my super fluffy pillow and I’m not going back to pancake pillows).

So yes, some nights I am lying in bed with a weighted blanket on me, an eye mask over my eyes, hands grabbing for the melatonin at my bedside, an Embr Wave 2 on my wrist, sleep headphones on, and a sleep-inducing podcast playing. Looking at the entire list, it seems ridiculous. But you just can’t put a price on a good night’s sleep (actually, I could add up all the cost of all of the above gadgets and items and supplements, but I’m afraid to). So if sleep seems elusive for you, try one or more of my sleeping hacks. Hope you get a solid five hours of sleep!

Janine Annett is the author of the humor book I Am “Why Do I Need Venmo?” Years Old. Her writing has appeared in the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, the New Yorker, McSweeney’s Internet Tendency, Real Simple, Parents, and many other places. She lives in New York with her husband, son, and dog

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