A Common Misconception About Menopause:
Many people think of all the many symptoms of menopause happen after your body has gone through the hormonal transition. However, this is simply a common misconception. In actuality, menopausal symptoms tend to occur when you are pre-menopausal and going through the transition.
Once you have fully entered into menopause Then you will likely be past all of the sleep disruptions caused by the hormonal shift.
Now that we have all of that cleared up, lets get into the reasons as to why menopause makes it so difficult to sleep.
Why Menopause Makes It Difficult to Sleep:
During menopause, your estrogen production slows down. Giving you less estrogen in your system. This lower level of estrogen makes your hypothalamus believe that your internal body temperature is too high, which sends signals to the rest of your body in order to attempt to cool down. Which makes you feel hot, and you begin to sweat and become flush as your body tries to cool off.
While this process is not overly disruptive or any cause for alarm, it can be rather uncomfortable. Which of course makes it difficult to get to sleep.
Menopause Symptoms That Disrupt Sleep:
There are many different menopausal symptoms that are not featured on this list. These are simply the most common symptoms that disrupt getting a good nights sleep. Hot flashes are by far the most commonly discussed symptoms of menopause, however there are many more that can just as easily make it difficult to get to sleep at night.
- Hot Flashes
How Does Your Period Affect Sleep
Women undergo physical and emotional changes before and during their period, some bothersome, some painful. Many women report that their menstrual cycle affects their sleep in some way, and it is most common for these sleep problems to occur in the 3-6 days leading up to the period . The severity of sleep issues can range from a few restless hours to insomnia-like problems.
Can Treating Menopause Improve Sleep
Two common menopause treatments include Estrogen Replacement Therapy , which increases estrogen, and Hormone Replacement Therapy , which increases estrogen and progesterone. Both of these treatments have proven effective in relieving menopausal symptoms, including hot flashes, insomnia, and mood.
However, HRT poses serious risks for some women, particularly those who have had blood clots, strokes, heart attack, and certain types of cancer. As a result, doctors are recommended to prescribe HRT at the lowest effective dose and only to use it as a short-term treatment. Its important to talk to your doctor about the risks and benefits of HRT, as there are many approaches for managing menopausal symptoms.
Lower doses of antidepressants and SSRIs, including fluoxetine, paroxetine, and venlafaxine, can relieve menopausal symptoms, including hot flashes. Some, like Bazedoxifene, may relieve hot flashes while also increasing sleep quality.
Melatonin, your bodys natural sleep hormone, can also be taken as an over-the-counter medication. Low doses of melatonin improved mood and sleep onset in postmenopausal women. Like estrogen and progesterone, melatonin also .
Cognitive behavioral therapy is also effective in relieving insomnia, including symptoms associated with menopause. In CBT, you work with a trained therapist to recognize the thoughts and behaviors that are negatively impacting your sleep, and learn to replace them with healthier behaviors that promote good sleep.
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Here Are Some More Tips That Might Help You Avoid Hot Flashes Or Sleep Better Through Hot Flashes
- Keep your bedroom cool at night and wear loose, light pajamas made of natural fibers.
- Before bed, avoid spicy foods, which can make you sweat.
- Take it easy on the caffeine, especially later in the day.
It is extremely helpful to visit your doctor to discuss menopausal sleep disorders. The research on the importance of sleep is clear we need it in order to function at our best. Please visit us to discuss your sleeping problems or the other issues associated with menopause.
Lets Talk Protein During Menopause
Proteins eggs, almonds, Greek yogurt, very lean cuts of meat, lentils and beans, high protein breads and pastas support optimal hormone levels. Go low fat in menopause. Omega-3 fatty acids help to limit inflammation, which can be elevated in menopause and fuel hot flashes. Foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids include fatty fishes like salmon and mackerel, walnuts, canola oil, soybeans, sardines, chia seeds, and flaxseed. Avoid weight gain as much as possible, as it can add to sleep issues like risk of sleep apnea.
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What Else Causes Insomnia
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.
Create A Cool Sleep Environment
Where you sleep can make a big difference in how youre sleeping. If hot flashes are keeping you up at night, make changes to help cool down your sleep environment. Buy a small fan for your bedside table or open the windows to allow for better air flow. Other options, like cooling pillows and moisture-wicking clothing, can help alleviate your symptoms without affecting a sleeping partner.
Cooling Towels And Fans Provide Instant Relief
Keep a cooling towel submerged in water at your bedside and youll have an instant solution during a miserable night sweat. The Ergogyne Chill-Its Evaporative Cooling Bandana, Schutt Multi Sport Cooling Towel, or the Mission Enduracool Microfiber Cooling Towel are some well-priced options to consider. Additionally, you can try keeping a thermos of cold water bedside to drink from and small personal fans on the nightstand, or a large overhead fan can be a good investment.
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.
Why Do Menopausal Women Have A Hard Time Sleeping
Hormone levels fluctuate throughout perimenopause and postmenopause, and this is whats responsible for most side effects women experience, including sleep changes. During this transition, the body produces less estrogen, progesterone, and testosterone. Estrogen directly affects sleep, in that higher levels of it are associated with mental sharpness, positive mood, and good sleep patterns. Progesterone has a calming effect on the body, helping us to relax and maintain a positive mental state. Testosterone is mostly responsible for sex drive but also boosts overall energy. When these three hormones are at lower levels, its no wonder why regular, restful sleep is one of the first things to go for many women during middle age.
Exercisebut Not Too Soon Before Bed
Exercise is good for your health, but its also good for your sleep. You might even be surprised that a workout can actually help cool you down.
Exercising in the morning or early afternoon helps manage your sleep-wake cycle by slightly increasing your body temperature in the hours following your workout and then gradually dropping it, explains Rochelle Goldberg, MD, director of sleep medicine services at Main Line Health. For optimal benefits, aim to fit in a workout midday.
If you cant take a break from a busy day to work out, thats okay. Try exercising in the early evening, at least three hours before your bedtime. Youll still reap the benefits.
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Supplements And Complementary Therapies
There are various alternatives to HRT to ease the symptoms of menopause.
Interest has been shown in the use of melatonin for sleep disturbance, as the ‘sleep hormone’ is influenced by the decline in oestrogen and progesterone at menopause. However, there is uncertainty around the appropriate dose and possible interactions with medications including antidepressants, anticoagulants, and medicines for diabetes.
“While it’s true that the body produces less melatonin with age,” says Savvas, “the evidence that melatonin actually helps with sleep is poor. It can help with jetlag where the circadian rhythm is out of sync, but there’s little evidence of benefit in supplement form for long-term sleep issues or for women at menopause.”
Yoga, acupuncture, massage and meditation have all been shown to have beneficial effects on well-being and may help with relaxation and sleep. A 2017 study demonstrated that almost half of the menopausal women who took part experienced a decrease in vasomotor symptoms, but noted that more research was needed.
There is limited evidence to show that supplements such as magnolia bark, L-theanine, magnesium, 5-HTP and valerian can help induce better sleep – and black cohosh and red clover are purported to reduce night sweats. Phytoestrogens from plants including soya, tofu, chickpeas and nuts also act like a weaker form of oestrogen in the body.
Short Course Of Talk Therapy May Improve Sleep During Menopause
By Shereen Lehman, Reuters Health
5 Min Read
– Cognitive behavioral therapy appears to be an effective way to improve sleep in middle-age women who have hot flashes, suggests a new study.
Cognitive behavioral therapy, or CBT, is a widely-used, short-term, problem-focused form of behavioral treatment that helps people see the relationship between beliefs, thoughts, and feelings, and subsequent behavior patterns and actions, study leader Katherine Guthrie told Reuters Health by email. CBT for insomnia focuses on behavior around sleep.
CBT outperformed both exercise and medication, Guthrie and colleagues found.
Sleep problems are common just before, during and after menopause. Even women who dont technically have insomnia often wake up in the middle of the night and have trouble getting back to sleep.
As reported in the journal Sleep, the researchers studied more than 500 menopausal or postmenopausal women, ages 40 to 72, in Boston, Indianapolis, Oakland, Philadelphia, or Seattle. All of the women had sleep problems and hot flashes, and all were participating in randomized trials as part of the Menopausal Strategies: Finding Lasting Answers to Symptoms and Health studies.
The researchers compared different interventions, including CBT, the antidepressant drug escitalopram, aerobic exercise, daily omega-3 fatty acids, hormone therapy with estradiol, and a drug for nerve pain called venlafaxine XR.
SOURCE: bit.ly/2kphM3D Sleep, online November 20, 2017.
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The Insomnia And Menopause Link
Sleep disturbances are extremely prevalent and a challenging problem for midlife women, says Steven Goldstein, MD, professor of obstetrics and gynecology at New York University School of Medicine and president of the board of the North American Menopause Society. In fact, according to the National Sleep Foundation, 61 percent of perimenopausal and postmenopausal women report frequent bouts of insomnia.
Dr. Goldstein says its important to figure out why your sleep is disturbed. He explains that sometimes the cause is hormonal changes related to menopause, and sometimes the problem is another age-related health condition such as incontinence or joint pain. Midlife stresses such as anxiety over work and family can also interfere with sleep. And if you werent a great sleeper to begin with, entering menopause can make insomnia even worse.
Menopause And Obstructive Sleep Apnea
Prevalence of obstructive sleep apnea rises markedly after menopause in females . From as low as 47% to as high as 67% post-menopausal women have been found to have OSA across studies .
Women tend to gain weight after menopause and this results in higher BMI, larger neck circumference and higher waist-hip ratio but whether menopause also increases the chances of central obesity is still controversial . In this manner, the upper airway becomes anatomically different after menopause and results in compromise in breathing during sleep. Thus, post-menopausal women have a higher prevalence of OSA as compared to pre-menopausal women . However, body weight does not appear to be the only factor responsible for this condition, as another study has found that despite comparable body mass index, post-menopausal women had more severe OSA and they spent a larger amount of sleep time with OSA as compared to pre-menopausal females .
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S To Getting Better Sleep During Menopause
Menopause can cause a lot of discomfort and inconvenience, such as disrupted sleep. Up to half of all menopausal women will experience sleep complications compared with 15 percent of the general population. But while there is no cure for Menopause, there are steps you can take to get back your sleep:
Wearing loose, moisture-wicking clothing, using a bedside fan, and keeping a glass of cool water on your nightstand can all help with night sweats. You should try to avoid hot flash triggers such as spicy food, caffeine, and alcohol. You can also talk with your doctor about whether hormone replacement therapy may be right for you. The treatment has been found to help women falland stayasleep. Recent studies have also shown efficacy for yoga and acupuncture, says Laurie Jeffers, a nurse practitioner. Dr. Sherry Ross, OB/GYN agrees and adds that if the hot flashes are mild, trying black cohosh or passionflower extract supplements could help, but you should tell consult your doctor on what to take.
Treat sleep apnea
Adopt good sleep habits
Talk with your doctor
An Introduction To Sleeping Problems
Menopausal women often experience some kind of sleep problem. This can range from not getting to sleep or not staying asleep to sleep disorders such as sleep apnoea.
Adults on average should sleep for seven to nine hours every night. Without this amount of sleep, many people find it difficult to concentrate, have increased anxiety or a range of other problems.
For menopausal women, night sweats are a common cause of not being able to sleep. Once these night sweats cease, many women find that their sleep problems ease.
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Hot Flashes And Sleep
Sleeplessness due to menopause is often associated with hot flashes. Theseunpleasant sensations of extreme heat can come on during the day or atnight. Nighttime hot flashes are often paired with unexpected awakenings.
Pien says that though its common to feel like a hot flash has awakenedyou, research shows that many menopausal women actually wake just before ahot flash occurs.
There are changes in the brain that lead to the hot flash itself, andthose changes not just the feeling of heat may also be what triggersthe awakening, she says. Even women who dont report sleep disturbancesfrom hot flashes often say that they just have more trouble sleeping thanthey did before menopause.
Is Pms Linked To Insomnia
Sleep-related symptoms that occur around your period may be linked to Premenstrual Syndrome , the combination of symptoms that occur a week or two before a period begins. PMS doesnt necessarily occur during every menstrual cycle, but three in four women report experiencing PMS symptoms at some point in their life.
Women who have PMS are twice as likely to experience insomnia before and during their period. The more severe the premenstrual symptoms, the more likely it is that sleep is disrupted and sleep quality will decline. 70% of women diagnosed with Premenstrual dysphoric disorder , a more severe form of PMS, have insomnia.
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Progesterone Role In Partial Upper Airway Obstruction In Postmenopausal Women
Hormonal decrease in postmenopausal woman is one of the causative factor of sleep apnea, due to lack of progesterone the pharyngeal dilator muscle activity is effected and low progesterone could be a causative factor of sleep apnea through the stabilizing effect of decrease respirator drive. And repetitive sleep induced collapse of the pharyngeal airway could happen so the postmenopausal women have higher frequency of apnea than premenopausal women .
As we have already discussed, menopause is a state of hormonal change and, having this in mind, we should ask ourselves- âwhat increases the chances of OSA after menopause- direct effect of hormones or the change in anthropometric measures?â. This question was answered by Carskadon et al. who showed that hormonal factors play a minor role as compared to anthropometric measures in development of OSA after menopause . Similar results have been reported in another study where a temporary menopause was initiated with the help of drugs in pre-menopausal women .
Get Yourself Some Bamboo Sheets
The best bed sheets are made from bamboo. They are a great option for hot sleepers. In this case, women with menopause. Bamboo bed sheets are not only silky-soft and cozy they are also cooling.
Cooling bed sheets are designed to help reduce night sweats and increase airflow while still being comfortable.
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