Menopause and Sleep

September 22, 2017

menopause and sleep

We tackle a very important issue – menopause and sleep. Check out our YouTube videos and follow us on Facebook.

Menopause and Sleep

A woman’s ovaries stop producing estrogen and progesterone normally between the ages of 40-50.

Menstruation stops and this marks the end of a woman’s’ reproductive years. This is the basic explanation of Menopause. While women are going through this change in their body, side effects can cause issues with sleep and even be the cause of a sleep disorder that was not experienced prior.

Symptoms and issues with sleep and Menopause can include:

  • Exhaustion and anxiety
  • Night sweats can occur if a hot flash presents while asleep which cause the body to overheat and sweat profusely
  • Cold sweats which is similar to hot flashes but one awakens cold
  • Heart palpitations
  • Shortness of breath
  • Poor concentration
  • Memory loss
  • Mood changes
  • Decreased sex drive
  • Muscle and joint pain

Many of these symptoms can also occur with sleep disorders. Difficulty falling and or maintaining sleep at night may represent as insomnia, frequent nighttime awakenings, poor cognitive function, daytime sleepiness, poor short term memory, loud snoring, witnessed pauses in breathing, and episodes of gasping can also occur in sleep apnea.

How Does Menopause Increase Sleep Apnea?

Progesterone and estrogen are two hormones that help maintain the airways muscle tone and keep it from collapsing, so as these decrease in secretion during perimenopause and stop all together during and after menopause the severity or likelihood of a positive sleep apnea diagnosis increases.

In a study of women of different age groups, the prevalence of moderate to severe obstructive sleep apnea (AHI>15 events per hour) increased from 0.6% to up to 7%

Many women attribute their sleep problems to hormonal changes or to the fact that they are getting older. Fortunately, the symptoms that occur due to sleep apnea will resolve with effective treatments like CPAP therapy (continuous airway pressure) or the use of a MAD ( mandibular advancement device).

According to the National Sleep Foundation 61% of women going thru menopause have sleeping problem. So in order to help make this transition easier one can use preventative measures and or treatments prescribed by a physician.

Preventative Measures

– Eat healthy (plenty of fruits and vegetables)

– Regular exercise

– Loose fitting pajamas

– Avoidance of caffeine and alcohol

– Sleep in a cool room

– Avoid hot and spicy food prior to bed (these cause you to sweat)

– Keep hydrated (8 glasses water a day)

– Maintain a regular sleep schedule (no napping)

Alternative therapies to alleviate symptoms

Acupuncture has been reported to help with symptoms as well as natural herbs to help balance hormone levels and natural teas (chamomile) can help with relaxation.

Soy products contain a plant hormone called phytoestrogen this acts a s a weak estrogen and it has been suggested that this may help with symptoms as well as Black Cohosh (a perennial plant in the buttercup family), though initially theses seemed positive recent studies have shown that they are of no help in treating menopause symptoms.

Medical Treatment

Medical help can be given for the patient with severe symptomatic menopause, this normally is HRT (hormone replacement therapy).

For women who no longer have a uterus estrogen is replaced. It can be delivered in patch, pill or vaginal cream form. Progesterone is added to the hormone replacement for women still with their uterus. Long term use of both of these hormones increase ones risk for breast cancer, heart disease, blood clots and stroke. The latest recommendations are to use to lowest possible dosage for the shortest amount of time.

If you are not a candidate or are not interested in Hormone replacement therapy (HRT) other medications may be helpful. Some medications originally used as an antidepressant have been found to help relieve hot flashes, there is also medication specifically meant for hot flashes.

– Antidepressant medications:
– Prozac *Paxil * Effexor
– Specifically used to treat hot flashes
– Brisdelle *Duavee

Find more articles on how sleep affects women here.

Please have a discussion with your family physician if any of these issues are of concern.

Sweet Dreams,
The Team at SleepTech

#sleeptech #smartersleep
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Posted in Blog