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Menopause - The Sleep Thief

From the Menopause and Hormones Articles List

Menopause is a sleep thiefLike most women in menopause, you may be experiencing hot flashes, vaginal dryness, and maybe some weight gain. But, in the midst of these maddening menopausal symptoms, you may not have expected to be robbed of much needed sleep, tossing and turning every night, staring at the clock at 2 am, and yawning at your desk every afternoon.

Unfortunately, it's another menopause mystery to solve: "The Case of the Sleep Thief."

Although it may be a challenge to follow the hints and trace the details, this mystery can be solved - and it won't take Sherlock Holmes or Miss Marple to find your missing Zzzzz's.

Meet the Menopause Sleep Culprits

Both estrogen and progesterone play a role in letting you get a good night’s rest. Progesterone promotes sleep, but its levels begin to drop as you enter perimenopause. If you have been abruptly pushed into surgical menopause, you’ve also been deprived of progesterone and your doctor may not have prescribe any as part of your hormone replacement therapy (HRT).

Estrogen affects many chemicals in your brain, including those that help you sleep. When estrogen levels are too low, you can have fight or flight responses, even when you should be sleeping!

Fluctuating hormones that cause hot flashes and night sweats can also cause a surge of adrenaline, stimulating your brain and keeping you awake–besides leaving you hot, sweaty, and uncomfortable!

And to add insult to injury, melatonin–your natural sleep regulating chemical–naturally drops as you age. So when you need it most during menopause, it’s not there!

Stop the Zzzz's Thieves

First, keep a sleep diary and work with your doctor to be sure menopause is the culprit. If it is, then consider whether HRT is right for you. Studies have found that a bit of estrogen can go a long way towards letting you get a good night’s rest. You can also consider supplementing with Melatonin.

Next, work to create a sleep routine that helps your brain and body know it’s time to settle down and rest. This can include winding down, following a specific routine, and avoiding foods and beverages which disturb your sleep.

You should also make your bedroom and place for rest only. Move out the bright lights, TV, and other distractions. Create a restful sanctuary that is relaxing and stress-free.

If you still can’t sleep, ask your doctor about over-the-counter or prescription remedies. It’s best to only use sleep aids temporarily. But getting a few nights rest can help you relax and reset your system so you begin to fall asleep and stay asleep naturally.

This content was written by staff of HysterSisters.com by non-medical professionals based on discussions, resources and input from other patients for the purpose of patient-to-patient support.

02-19-2016 - 12:27 PM


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