The Trouble With Sleeping During Menopause

early menopause
Going through menopause is difficult, and unfortunately, many of the problems that begin during perimenopause lead to one major problem—lack of sleep. Although you may not at first realize the connection, sleep deprivation, insomnia, and other night time troubles commonly begin with women in their forties and fifties, even when then have previously not suffered from sleeping problems. Many forces come together for menopausal women to make sleep difficult, so it is important to understand your symptoms so that you can treat them efficiently and get a better night’s sleep.

Night sweats are one of the most common causes of sleeping problems. The night-time version of hot flashes, night sweats can cause you to have trouble falling asleep or can wake you up while you are already sleeping. Restless leg syndrome is another common menopausal experience. This urge to move your legs comes with feelings of itchy, crawling, tugging sensations on your skin, which can make sleeping difficult for both you and your partner. Restless leg syndrome has roots in neurological problems. Mentally, another condition caused by changing hormone levels in your body is depression. This is especially true for women who are experiencing early menopause or surgically induced menopause.

The most serious sleep-related condition, however, is sleep apnea. While the symptoms of sleep apnea—such as snoring—may seem harmless, this problem effects your breathing and actually causes you to lapse into periods where you do not breath. There is a definite link between sleep apnea and menopause, so if you are told by your partner that you have recently begun to snore, it is a possibility that you suffer from this condition and you should immediately speak with your doctor. Sleep apnea can result in death due to heart attack or stroke.

If you suffer from sleep apnea, medication and surgery are the two best options to clear this problem. However, if you suffer from other menopausal conditions (i.e., night sweats, restless leg syndrome, and depression), there are many natural treatment options you can try before beginning a traditional medical treatment. Speak with your doctor, as always, to be sure these lifestyle changes are healthy for your body.

First and foremost, exercise regularly and eat a healthy diet. Dietary changes alone can improve your mood and cause other sleep problems to clear up, especially if you consider supplements of natural herbs. Continue your health-conscious changes by quitting bad habits, such as smoking and consuming excess amounts of alcohol. This will promote a healthier body overall. For depression, you may wish to speak with a professional therapist—depression could be caused by menopause, or you may have underlying problems that won’t be cleared up when your body adjusts to the hormonal changes. Also begin to de-stress your life. By relaxing during the day, you will find that you can rest better at night. And a no-brainer solution to night sweats? Sleep with a window open, put a fan on or an air conditioner.

If these natural changes do not help, or if your problems persist for more than a year, speak with your doctor, as these could be side effects of a more serious condition. Menopause is challenging, but it should not make your life unliveable—if you have problems sleeping at night, you will suffer twice as much from problems during the day, as you will be more tired and your immune system will be weakened. Get the help you need when you need it to make this transition in life as smooth as possible.

By: Kathryn Whittaker

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