Caring for Loved Ones with Sleep Problems

5 Facts About Menopause and Sleep

Allison Tsai Apr 15th, 2013 (updated Jun 9th, 2015)
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Menopause can bring about many changes in a woman’s body due to major hormonal shifts. This can also cause psychological changes, though symptoms vary for each woman. Sleep is one area that can be affected by perimenopause, menopause and post-menopause.

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Post-menopausal women report the most sleep problems
Post-menopausal women report the most sleep problems

According to the National Sleep Foundation, 61 percent of post-menopausal women experience symptoms of insomnia. In addition, post-menopausal women are more likely to snore severely or display signs of sleep apnea.

 

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Hot flashes can wake women up at night
Hot flashes can wake women up at night

The changing level of estrogen that occurs during menopause can cause hot flashes. It begins around the face and spreads to the chest, feels like unexpected heat and triggers sweating. Hot flashes affect 75 to 85 percent of women around menopause, and can cause sleep disruptions. Before the hot flash, the body temperature rises, which causes women to awaken at night. Hot flashes typically last for three minutes.

 

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Daytime activity can curb hot flashes
Daytime activity can curb hot flashes

A recent study from the journal Menopause has found that more daily activity will promote better sleep and fewer night time awakenings in women who experience hot flashes. They also found that the positive effects were associated with household and caregiving activity rather than vigorous sports or exercise. In addition, the advantages were mostly seen in Caucasian women who were not obese.

 

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A host of symptoms can cause sleep issues
A host of symptoms can cause sleep issues

During perimenopause, menopause and post-menopause, certain changes in the body can impact sleep. Aside from hot flashes, other common issues include mood disorders, insomnia and sleep-disordered breathing, depression and anxiety. All of these can contribute to poor quality of sleep.

 

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Treatments can help reduce symptoms and sleep issues
Treatments can help reduce symptoms and sleep issues

There are ways to treat the symptoms of menopause that can also help with sleep issues. Hormone replacement therapy and estrogen replacement therapy are common ways to treat symptoms, though they do come with some serious risks, such as increased risk for cardiovascular disease and dementia. All forms of estrogen that enter the blood stream reduce hot flashes, which can improve sleep.