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Does Menopause Cause Lack Of Sleep

What Menopausal Women Eat Could Have An Impact On Their Risk Of Developing Insomnia

Menopause Sleep Problems – what can you do?

Researchers recently looked at detailed dietary data from over 50,000 postmenopausal women enrolled in the Womens Health Initiative study between 1994 and 2001. Carbohydrate intake was measured in several ways: glycemic index and glycemic load , measures of added sugars, starch, total carbohydrate, and dietary fiber, and specific carbohydrate-containing foods such as whole grains, processed or refined grains, whole fruits, vegetables, and dairy products. They then looked at each participants risk of developing insomnia after three years of follow-up.

They found that the risk of developing insomnia was greater in women with a higher-GI diet, as well as in women who included more added sugars in their diet. Added sugars included white and brown sugar, syrups, honey, and molasses. The risk of developing insomnia was lower in women who ate more whole fruits and vegetables.

The researchers accounted for and adjusted for many potentially confounding factors, including demographic , behavioral , psychosocial , and medical factors .

What Are The Symptoms Of Sleep Deprivation

The primary signs and symptoms of sleep deprivation include excessive daytime sleepiness and daytime impairment such as reduced concentration, slower thinking, and mood changes.

Feeling extremely tired during the day is one of the hallmark signs of sleep deprivation. People with excessive daytime sleepiness may feel drowsy and have a hard time staying awake even when they need to. In some cases, this results in microsleeps in which a person dozes off for a matter of seconds.

Insufficient sleep can directly affect how a person feels during their waking hours. Examples of these symptoms include:

  • Slowed thinking
  • Lack of energy
  • Mood changes including feelings of stress, anxiety, or irritability

A persons symptoms can depend on the extent of their sleep deprivation and whether it is acute or chronic. Research also suggests that some individuals are more likely to experience symptoms after a lack of sleep and that this may be tied to a persons genetics. Stimulants like caffeine can also mask the symptoms of sleep deprivation, so its important to note how you feel on and off these substances.

What Is The Glycemic Index Of Food And How Could This Affect Sleep

The glycemic index is a ranking of foods on a scale from 0 to 100 according to how much they raise blood sugar levels after eating them. Ive with knowledge of the GI and the glycemic load of foods. High-GI foods are those that are rapidly digested, absorbed, and metabolized, and cause spikes in blood sugar and insulin levels. Some examples of high-GI foods include anything made with processed grains and anything containing added sugars .

Low-GI foods dont cause your blood sugar and insulin levels to spike, and include plant foods such as most fruits and vegetables, legumes and beans, nuts, seeds, and whole grains. Even plant foods that have a high GI such as bananas and watermelon are not likely bad for you when eaten in moderation.

Researchers hypothesize that high-GI foods cause insomnia because of the rapid spike and then crash of blood sugar levels. Essentially, what goes up must come down, and after blood sugar and insulin levels peak, they tend to drop, which can cause a lot of symptoms, including awakening from sleep. The researchers of this new study cite multiple studies supporting this theory.

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How Long Does Insomnia Last

The symptoms of insomnia can be either acute or chronic. Acute insomnia is limited to short periods of time or sleep disturbances that occur intermittently. Sleep disturbances that are acute usually are resolved without medication or other treatments. Chronic insomnia lasts for longer periods of time. Chronic insomnia is classified as sleep disturbances that occur at least 3 times per week or at 3 consecutive months. This type of insomnia most often requires some form of intervention, which may include medication or other forms of treatment.

The symptoms of insomnia are very straightforward for anyone experiencing sleep disturbances. They include:

  • difficulties initiating sleep
  • nocturnal awakenings, difficulty staying asleep
  • waking up too early, earlier than planned

However, when identifying the causes of insomnia, they can include anything that keeps you from sleeping. Obviously, this will vary from one person to another, and it is even different between the sexes.

Women have their own unique set of reasons for insomnia. Many of these reasons are related to hormonal changes.

The Health Impact Of Poor Sleep

Sleep Disorders

“Quality of sleep declines for everyone as they age,” explains Dr Heather Currie, a specialist gynaecologist, trustee of the BMS, and founder of Menopause Matters. “But significantly so for many women as they approach menopause. And it doesn’t just impact upon mood, energy and brain function in the short term.”

Mr Michael Savvas, a consultant gynaecologist with a special interest in menopause and sleep disturbance, agrees.

“It’s important to recognise that disturbed sleep is a major symptom of the menopause that often goes unrecognised,” he says. “Poor sleep has long-term effects, including cardiovascular disease, diabetes, dementia and obesity, reduced immunity and even cancer. So, it is crucial to take steps to improve things if you’re not getting around seven hours of good-quality sleep every night.”

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Hot Flashes And Sleep Problems

One cause of menopause-related sleeplessness is hot flashes. Fluctuating levels of estrogen and progesterone that occur during perimenopause and menopause can cause hot flashes in about 85 percent of American women. When they strike during the night, they can wreak havoc on sleep, explains Michael Decker, PhD, RN, an associate professor of nursing and a sleep disorder specialist at Georgia State University in Atlanta. Typically, hot flashes that occur during the night can be associated with drenching night sweats that lead to awakening from sleep. Some women even have to change clothes or bed linens. This amount of activity occurring in the middle of the night makes it difficult to resume sleep, resulting in insomnia, Decker adds.

Why Is Fatigue A Common Symptom Of Menopause

As you enter the perimenopausal period, your hormone levels rise and fall in unpredictable ways. Eventually, your female hormone levels will decrease until your body stops making them completely.

The same hormonal changes that cause symptoms like hot flashes and night sweats can also affect your mood and energy levels, leading to fatigue. Those hormone variations can also make it harder for you to sleep at night, which can leave you feeling tired during the day.

Even if youre in your 40s or 50s, fatigue isnt necessarily due to perimenopause or menopause. All of the following can cause fatigue:

  • alcohol and drug use

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How To Deal With Sleep Problems During Menopause

What can you do? First, talk to your doctor to try to pinpoint the source of your sleep problems. Lack of sleep and night wakings can be caused by many factors, and hormones are only one of them. If you canât get to sleep at all, says Ricki Pollycove, MD, FACOG, former chief of the Division of Gynecology at the California Pacific Medical Center and the author of The Complete Idiotâs Guide to Bioidentical Hormones, your sleep problem may not be due to menopause.

One option is to try hormonal support. âThis type of sleep disorder is often very well treated with a low dose of estrogen,â says Pollycove. In fact, a large study, presented at the annual meeting of the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists in May 2010, found that menopausal women with sleep problems due to hot flashes got significant relief from estrogen therapy.

Pollycove also recommends mind-body techniques, such as guided imagery, breathing control, and yoga. âThese are very effective, with no side effects, and are good for your brain,â she says.

Also, you can take steps to reduce the effect of hot flashes. âStudies have found that by having room temperatures lower, and by wearing layers to bed that you can take off or put on, women are less disturbed by hot flashes and have more restful sleep patterns,â says Wong.

Other Menopausal Sleep Disruptors

Overcoming Symptoms of Menopause (mood swings, hot flashes, lack of sleep)

At this stage of life, women can also develop sleep disorders such assleep apnea, which may come from a loss of reproductive hormones like estrogen andprogesterone. These can go undiagnosed because women often attributesymptoms and effects of sleep disorders to menopauseitself.

Postmenopausal women are two to three times more likely to have sleepapnea compared with premenopausal women, Pien says. Before we becomemenopausal, we’re fairly protected, but the protective effect of hormonesseems to be lost with menopause. Furthermore, women often have more subtlesymptoms of sleep apnea than men. Thus, they may be less likely to seekevaluation for sleep apnea. Their health care providers may also be lesslikely to recognize sleep apnea as a possibility, further delayingevaluation and diagnosis of sleep apnea.

Depressive symptomsandanxietymay also be risk factors for poor sleep during menopause.

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What Is The Best Vitamins To Take For Hormonal Imbalance

What Vitamins can help to balance hormones?Vitamin D and thyroid dysfunction. Vitamin D can help play a part in regulating insulin and the thyroid hormone. Vitamin B6 and PMS. Vitamin B6 can help alleviate some of the symptoms of premenstrual syndrome , such as mood changes and irritability. Vitamin E and menopause.

Develop A Good Sleep Routine

A good sleep routine can leave you feeling more energized. Try to go to bed and wake up around the same time every day, even on the weekends. Avoid caffeine and alcohol close to bedtime.

You may want to establish a nighttime routine to help set the mood for sleep. Take a warm shower or a bath, and avoid using smartphones and computers close to bedtime. Its also good practice to only use your bed for sleeping. Avoid reading, watching television, or using your smartphone while in bed.

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Sleep Problems And Menopause: What Can I Do

The years of the menopausal transition are often a time when there are other changes in a womans life. You may be caring for aging parents, supporting children as they move into adulthood, and reflecting on your own life journey. Add hot flashes on top of all this, and you may find yourself having trouble sleeping at night.

Not getting enough sleep can affect all areas of life. Lack of sleep can make you feel irritable or depressed, might cause you to be more forgetful than normal, and could lead to more falls or accidents.

Some women who have trouble sleeping may use over-the-counter sleep aids like melatonin. Others use prescription medicines to help them sleep, which may help when used for a short time. But, medicines are not a cure for insomnia. Developing healthy habits at bedtime can help you get a good nights sleep.

Are There Different Types Of Sleep Deprivation

How a Lack of Sleep Can Affect Your Menopause Symptoms ...

Sleep deprivation and sleep insufficiency may be categorized in different ways depending on a persons circumstances.

  • Acute sleep deprivation refers to a short period, usually a few days or less, when a person has a significant reduction in their sleep time.
  • Chronic sleep deprivation, also known as insufficient sleep syndrome, is defined by the American Academy of Sleep Medicine as curtailed sleep that persists for three months or longer.
  • Chronic sleep deficiency or insufficient sleep can describe ongoing sleep deprivation as well as poor sleep that occurs because of sleep fragmentation or other disruptions.

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How To Lower Your Estrogen Levels

There is a number of ways to directly or indirectly reduce excessive estrogen and avoid having high levels in the first place.

  • Dont drink too much alcohol it is known to increase estrogen in men and women
  • To prevent hypersensitivity in receptors, eat vegetables and nuts, and avoid dairy products .
  • Avoid antibiotics and eat probiotic foods like kefir and kimchi. They promote healthy gut bacteria, which indirectly keep healthy estrogen levels.
  • Reduce weight / keep healthy weight.
  • Eat organic and dont use plastic-packed food they contain xenoestrogens which imitate estrogen and bind to cell receptors.
  • Avoid hormonal birth control.

Menopause And Depression Anxiety And Stress

Adequate, good quality sleep plays a huge role in regulating our moods. Given that the menopause has the potential to disrupt sleep in a whole manner of ways, itâs not surprising that this lack of sleep can cause symptoms of depression, anxiety and stress to worsen.

Conversely, depression and mood disorders can all cause us to lose sleep. Itâs well-established that depression and insomnia go hand-in-hand. People suffering from depression have higher rates of insomnia and people with insomnia are more likely to be depressed. For greater insight into this, see our article on sleep and depression.

Whether menopause causes depression itself is still the subject of much debate 12 but many studies note increases in depressive symptoms around this transition. For example, one study found the greatest levels of depression in women between the ages of 45-55, which fits well with this period of hormonal upheaval.13

The menopause brings with it its own stresses and strains. It can feel like thereâs no end to the hot flushes, cold sweats, hormonal and bodily changes over which you have no control. So itâs no shock that people going through the menopausal transition report higher levels of anxiety and stress.

1: Symptoms such hot flushes, restless legs and anxiety lead to disturbed sleep.

2: Disturbed sleep becomes more persistent and regular.

3: The disturbed sleep becomes severe enough to be classed as insomnia.

4: Persistent insomnia leads to depression.

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Can Estrogen Therapy Be Bad Does Estrogen Cause Breast Cancer

It depends on the type of estrogen prescribed. Bioidentical estrogen in combination with bioidentical progesterone produces the best results. In Europe, only bioidentical hormones are prescribed.

If either estrogen or other helping substances are synthetic , they can cause various problems in the body and even significantly increase the risk of breast cancer, according to some studies. However, FDA has stated there is not enough evidence to support that bioidentical hormones are safer, so in the US synthetic options are frequently prescribed.

What Else Causes Insomnia

Menopause and sleep | Liz Earle Wellbeing

Sleepless nights arent uncommon. In fact, most people will face a night or two of restless sleep quite frequently. Common causes include:

  • Stress. Work, family, and personal relationships can take their toll on more than just your mental health. They can affect your sleep, too.
  • Mental health disorders. If you have anxiety, depression, or other mental health disorders, youre at a greater risk for experiencing insomnia. Many of these disorders, in addition to emotional symptoms, can cause sleep disruption.
  • Certain dietary habits. Eating too late in the evening can affect your digestion, and in turn, your bodys ability to sleep. Drinking stimulants such as coffee, tea, or alcohol can also disrupt your bodys sleep cycle.
  • Travel for work. If you have more sky miles than car miles, your sleep schedule is likely affected. Jet lag and time zone changes can take a toll, both in the short term and in the long term.

Your risk for insomnia also increases as you age, especially if youre over age 60. This is because of the natural changes in your bodys sleep cycle.

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What About Conventional Medicine

With sleep problems being such a common complaint, a range of conventional medicines has been developed to help with this. However, with the menopause being the root of the problem, solving the night sweats or hormone imbalance will provide greater relief.

It is advisory to speak to your doctor about taking conventional sleep medicines as many of these have side-effects and can only be used short-term. Your doctor will be able to find a solution most suited to your needs.

Menopause And Insomnia: Could A Low

Sleep disturbances such as insomnia are extremely common, especially in women after menopause. According to data from the National Institutes of Health, sleep disturbance varies from 16% to 42% before menopause, from 39% to 47% during perimenopause, and from 35% to 60% after menopause.

Insomnia is a serious medical problem defined by frequent difficulty falling or staying asleep that impacts a persons life in a negative way. Hormone changes around menopause can lead to sleep problems for many reasons, including changing sleep requirements, increased irritability, and hot flashes.

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Why You Dont Sleep Well During Menopause

A number of factors gang up in menopause to disturb your sleep. Hormone levels, health issues, lifestyle, and situational stressors all play a role in whether you get to sleep and stay asleep. After the age of 40 , you may have trouble getting or staying asleep because declining hormone levels affect the sleep/wake cycle. Additionally, hot flashes, night sweats, thyroid problems, pain, and breathing difficulties can keep you up. In particular, sleep apnea, which is related to changing estrogen levels and weight gain, is common in menopause.

At any age, stress can keep one up. But during menopause, women may be dealing with aging parents, surly teenagers, divorce, job worries, and money problems. All of these difficulties can make it hard to sleep. And if you’re depressed or anxious outside of these challenges, getting and staying asleep may feel impossible.

If you do have health problems, medications may keep you awake. Diet and use of substances such as caffeine, nicotine, alcohol, or supplements can also be factors.

Menstrual Cycles And Sleep

Sleep Disorders

What about your menstrual cycle itself? Can you have trouble sleeping at âthat time of the month?â Itâs much less common than in menopause and pregnancy, but it does happen.

âMenstrual cycles for the vast majority of us are regular, in terms of a predictable hormonal sequence of events,â says Pollycove. âIn young women, itâs pretty rare that the regular rise and fall of estrogen and progesterone disrupts sleep. But there are women with premenstrual syndrome for whom sleep disruption can be a symptom.â

If youâre one of them, and if sleep issues are really wreaking havoc in your life every 28 days or so, then one possible solution is hormonal birth control.

âIf youâre not trying to conceive a baby, birth control pills can put your hormones in more of a steady state,â says Wong. âMost patients arenât going to want to go on the pill because of a couple of nights of lost sleep, but thatâs one way of doing it.â

You can also try the mind-body therapies such as yoga, guided imagery, and breathing techniques, as well as the âgood sleep hygieneâ strategies recommended for women having sleep problems at other life stages.

If menstrual pain is keeping you up at night, you can try one of the available medications that combines a pain reliever with a sleep aid.

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