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Naturopath Sarah McLachlan Shares 3 Tips to Prepare for Perimenopause

Worried about hot flashes, sleepless nights and mood swings coming around the corner? There’s a lot to learn when it comes to menopause, but don’t worry, in the latest episode of the Unprocessed podcast, we’ve found ourselves in the arms of a hormone health guru with a host of simple tips and tricks to ease the path to perimenopause, from reducing symptoms to hacking your hormones to boost overall health. 

Naturopath Sarah McLachlan is all about taking a holistic look at your health – after all, from our gut to our brain, it’s all linked, and that includes our hormones! This perimenopause expert says managing our health doesn’t have to be an expensive or difficult process – it’s okay to start small. 

“The biggest thing you can do is start thinking about yourself and your health now,” Sarah tells Unprocessed. “We think looking after ourself has to be this big thing, but actually it’s those really small daily habits that help build hormonal balance.”

Let’s dive into some of Sarah’s best tips to get ready for perimenopause.

Manage Stress


“As you move towards menopause, your adrenal glands step in to make oestrogen,” Sarah says, adding that the hormonal changes taking place around menopause and perimenopause can exacerbate our propensity for stress.

With adrenal glands working overtime, it can be counterproductive to have them releasing stress hormones instead of supporting oestrogen levels that have been dropping. So, what should we do? Sarah says minimising stress should be a top priority – not only will this reduce inflammation; it will also reduce the severity of perimenopause symptoms. 

“Thinking about working on stress now and your stress management and self-care is a part of that too, that also becomes really important because progesterone is our inbuilt stress resilience hormone,” she shares on Unprocessed.

Plus, we also know that perimenopausal women often experience sleep disturbances, of which can be worsened by stress. Practicing relaxation techniques before bedtime can improve sleep quality, leading to better overall well-being. Stress can also worsen physical symptoms like headaches, muscle tension, and digestive issues. Learning to manage stress can alleviate these discomforts, contributing to better overall health. 

Eat and drink regularly – and nourishingly


Sarah says managing perimenopause symptoms and easing into menopause is all about the basics – food, sleep and stress. There can be a temptation to overlook these simple – but often times confusing – aspects of health to make space for our responsibilities and obligations, but this hormone health guru says to resist the urge.

“Don’t skip any meals, please; one thing that you can commit to is giving and fuelling yourself with three solid meals across the day and drinking plenty of water,” she says. “Our body needs water to move our hormones and nutrients around our body." 

Prioritise Sleep

One of Sarah’s best pieces of advice is to put quality sleep at the top of your list – this is often the first thing we lose when we’re stressed, but it happens to be the most important weapon against stress and changing hormones. Think of the night as your companion and stress relief your guide on the journey to better health and lower stress levels.

“The temptation for us is to stay up late and doom scroll or watch Netflix to get some time on our own, but it really backfires,” Sarah says. “I like to tell my clients like get yourself into bed by 10.30, have your lights out by 11. 

“Those hours between 10:30 p.m. and 2:30 a.m., I call them the golden hours because they're worth so much for your body while your cortisol is decreased and before it starts increasing, after 2:30 a.m., to get us up and out of bed in the morning.” 

At a loss as to how to relax before bed? Try some of these easy tricks: 

  • Progressive Muscle Relaxation (PMR): PMR involves tensing and then relaxing different muscle groups in your body to release physical tension. Start by tensing each muscle group for a few seconds, then release and feel the tension melting away. Work your way from your toes to your head, focusing on each area.
  • Deep breathing: Practice deep breathing exercises to calm your mind and body. One effective method is the 4-7-8 technique: Inhale deeply through your nose for a count of 4, hold your breath for a count of 7, and exhale slowly through your mouth for a count of 8. Repeat this cycle for several breaths.
  • Guided imagery: Use your imagination to create a peaceful and serene mental image. Visualise yourself in a calming place, such as a beach or a quiet forest, and focus on the sights, sounds, and sensations you would experience there.
  • Meditation: Mindfulness meditation can help quiet your mind and bring your attention to the present moment. Focus on your breath, bodily sensations, or a simple mantra to help ease your mind into a relaxed state.
  • Aromatherapy: Incorporate calming scents like lavender or chamomile into your bedtime routine. You can use essential oils in a diffuser, sprinkle a few drops on your pillow, or take a warm bath with scented oils.
  • Warm bath or shower: Taking a warm bath or shower before bed can help relax your muscles and soothe your mind. Add some Epsom salts or essential oils to the bathwater for added relaxation.
  • Gentle stretching or yoga: Engaging in gentle stretching or a short yoga session can release muscle tension and prepare your body for sleep. Focus on slow and controlled movements, avoiding any vigorous exercises close to bedtime.
  • Reading: Reading a calming book or magazine (in print, not on screens) can help shift your focus away from stressful thoughts and promote relaxation.
  • Listening to soothing music: Play soft, soothing music to create a calming atmosphere in your bedroom. Slow-paced instrumental music or nature sounds can be particularly effective.
  • Limit screen time: Avoid electronic devices such as smartphones, tablets, and computers at least an hour before bedtime. The blue light emitted by screens can disrupt your body's natural sleep-wake cycle.


Keen to learn more about perimenopause and how best to navigate the process? Check out the latest episode of the Unprocessed podcast for all of Sarah’s best tips. You can also head on over to her website Akeso Health to see how she can help you manage what can be a confusing time – from masterclasses to her Chaos to Calm method, this naturopath is passionate about helping you through all manner of symptoms.


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