Wellness Wisdom Video Extra: Menopause and Your Brain

Season 3, Episode 79

Dr. Briana Sinatra

Dr. Briana Sinatra


In this week’s Be HEALTHistic Video Extra, Dr. Briana Sinatra discusses how menopause can affect a woman’s cognitive health and how many of the most common symptoms actually start in the brain. She explains how menopause can impact sleep — which in turn influences mood, energy, cognition, recall and memory — and provides helpful advice for what women can do to minimize uncomfortable symptoms like hot flashes, night sweats and insomnia in this informative Wellness Wisdom video segment.


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Dr. Briana Sinatra: Hello, I'm Dr. Briana Sinatra. And today, we have our Wellness Wisdom for you.

And so in today's Wellness Wisdom, we're going to talk about how there are many symptoms of menopause — hot flashes, night sweats, insomnia, memory lapses, depression, and anxiety — that are starting in the brain. So how exactly does menopause impact cognitive health and what can you do to minimize these symptoms?

So many of these symptoms are interrelated. As we go through menopause, our estrogen and progesterone levels fluctuate, but eventually decline. And when our estrogen levels decline, this affects our blood flow, it affects different receptors. And we see a multitude of different symptoms. And one of the biggest things that I see in my patient population is this effect on sleep.

And when our sleep is affected — either by hot flashes at night, or just a hard time falling asleep or staying asleep — this affects our energy, it affects our mood, it affects our cognition, and our recall and memory. And so, a key thing, or many things, to help really improve your sleep during this time, I believe, is starting a really healthy bedtime routine.

So winding down well before you're ready for bed, unplugging from stressful...unplugging from work, unplugging from media that may be stressful. Having a relaxing bath, if that's nice for you — you can do a magnesium bath. You can also have a nice cup of tea. I like people to take magnesium at night, this can be really wonderful.

You can also take a nice little protein snack right before bed that can help keep your blood sugar levels stable throughout the night, which can also be helpful. Staying in a cooler room, so opening your window — and using natural fibers, not only for what you're sleeping in, but also for your bedding. So linens can be cool, silks can be cool, and can really help temperature regulate.

And I think the key, too, is finding out specifically for you what is most indicated. So that can also be different herbs, different nervines, relaxing herbs that can be helpful for sleep but that you can also take throughout the day. This is my cup of calm, which I wake up to — but I also go to sleep to. And it is wonderful how those different herbs of lavender, passionflower, chamomile, can really help just feed your nervous system during a time when our nervous system is really overstimulated by a lot of different things that are happening through the changes in our body.

Adrenal supportive herbs are also wonderful. Some of those can be really helpful for sleep, as well, such as ashwagandha. There's also other herbs that can help with the symptoms of menopause, like the hot flashes and the night sweats, which will then have you sleeping better at night. And when indicated, different bioidentical hormones can also be really helpful for people. Again, using that therapeutic order, finding what you need for yourself, so that you can really feel good in your body, help to manage your symptoms, and then manage those and decrease those cognitive effects that can happen from those symptoms occurring at that time in your life.

Dr. Briana Sinatra: So thank you so much for listening, I hope some of that was helpful for you. And thank you for listening!


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Dr. Briana Sinatra

Meet Dr. Briana Sinatra

Dr. Briana Sinatra is a board-certified naturopathic doctor with a vibrant practice in the Pacific Northwest. There she focuses on women’s and family health, taking a holistic approach to healthcare by empowering women with the knowledge and tools they need to live their best life now and protect their future wellness by looking at how all the systems in the body work together and how diet, lifestyle, and environment all influence health.

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