Hundred…ninety-nine…ninety-eight…ninety-seven…and the counting continues! However, there is no sleep in the eyes! Sleepless nights days after days, are painful. Sleep is a necessity of life; life becomes difficult and the abode of diseases if you have insomnia or a sleeping disorder. However, have you ever thought menopause could be the abductor of your sleep?
Menopause is the unofficial starting of your middle age: a time when your menstrual cycle draws a line. This is a phase when your body encounters dramatic hormonal transitions that leads to several symptoms, including insomnia. Together, let’s look into the chapter- menopause insomnia: an awakening nightmare.
What Is Insomnia?
Insomnia is a sleep disorder that makes it difficult for you to fall asleep or stay asleep. To simply put, you have a disrupting sleep even if you have time and opportunity.
Insomnia can be short-lasted, or it can go on and on for a long time. It can be acute, transient, or chronic. Acute and transient insomnia comes with stress, depression, or a sleeping environment that usually resolves after a week to a month when the stressors depart. However, chronic insomnia is a serious situation that occurs due to medical or psychological conditions. It lasts more than months and needs medical attention.
Causes of insomnia are many- stress, depression, new or disagreeable environment, psychological conditions, hormonal conditions, neurological conditions such as Parkinson’s disease, difficulties in relationships, and so on.
Age is another prominent factor that deprives you of sufficient sleep. A study shows that, on average, around 12 percent of women suffer from a sleep disorder. This number dramatically increases to 40 percent in their late 40s to early 50s. However, in women, sleep issues turn to worse nightmares before, during, and after menopause.
Symptoms of Insomnia
Sleep disturbance is a common issue during perimenopause, menopause, and postmenopause. You may face one or several symptoms of insomnia that usually include-
- Difficulty getting sleep
- Difficulty staying asleep (frequent awakening during the night)
- Waking up too early in the morning
- Insufficient sleep time
- Problems with the sense of well-being
- Lack of energy
- Sleepiness and fatigue during the day
- Reduced work performance
- Difficulty concentrating
Menopause insomnia: An Awakening Nightmare
Is menopause one of the causes of insomnia? The answer is yes.
Insomnia is a common and frequent phenomenon that a woman faces during her perimenopause and menopause. Sleep disorders may be mild, unnoticeable, and occasional; however, insomnia can be severe and drastically life-affecting for many. Menopause is a phase when a woman faces significant changes- hormonal, physical, and psychological. Your menstrual cycle stops, and approximately in a year, you reach your menopause.
During this perimenopause to menopausal period- almost 7 to 10 years- your ovaries gradually decrease the production of estrogen and progesterone- the two sex hormones. This hormonal change affects your sleep, causing insomnia that often continues to postmenopause.
A study suggested that 26 percent of women going through perimenopause and menopause suffer from severe insomnia that badly affects their lives. The severity of insomnia usually increases with age – however, it’s worse during perimenopause.
According to the survey of CDC in 2017, 56 percent of women going through perimenopause sleep less than 7 hours a night on average, and almost 24.8 percent of them have difficulty falling asleep four or more times a week. With that, nearly 49.9 percent of perimenopausal women wake up feeling tired with no satisfying rest in the morning. Indeed, insomnia may gradually improve for many after menopause; however, many women wrestle with sleep disorders even in their postmenopausal era.
Menopause Insomnia: Why and How
There is no one reason how menopause causes insomnia or sleep disorder. Instead, experts have indicated several factors that can bring sleeping problems during the menopausal period.
Hormonal change is the first companion of menopause. Especially estrogen, progesterone, and testosterone. These hormones not only regulate your reproductive function and menstrual cycle but also influence mood, energy, sexual drive, cognitive and emotional abilities, and sleep.
Estrogen is the primary sex hormone that is the protector of women’s sleep. It helps the body use serotonin and other neurochemicals that assist sleep, contributing to the standard quality of sleep with less time to fall asleep.
Estrogen level drops significantly throughout the menopausal transition causing anxiety, low mood, fatigue, difficulty concentrating, physical pain including headache and migraine, weight gain, and disrupted sleep.
Progesterone is the sleep-promoting hormone that works to maintain the balance of estrogen. It promotes a sense of calm, boosts relaxation, and aids sleep. It also increases GABA production, a neurotransmitter that helps sleep.
However, progesterone production stops when your menopause starts. No-progesterone in your body brings anxiety, restlessness, trouble sleeping, and a tendency to wake frequently during the night.
Testosterone is a male sex hormone; however, it is also produced in females at a tiny portion that promotes sex drive. It usually helps your body produce estrogen, boost sexual desire, energy levels, more significant muscle, and bone mass.
With age, testosterone level declines, affecting the production of estrogen cousin sleep disorder. During perimenopause, menopause, and postmenopause, these hormones fluctuate and decline significantly, causing various life-affecting symptoms, including sleep disorders.
Insomnia and hot flashes- one of the common symptoms of menopause, are the two cousins; they are closely connected.
The unpleasant feeling of extreme heat, flushes, and sweat can invade your life any moment- day or night. During the night, these hot flashes and sweats disrupt your sleep tremendously and cause you to wake frequently – an awakening nightmare. A study suggests that even if you don’t have a sleep disorder during menopause, your sleep may disrupt by sudden awakening due to hot flashes. In short, hot flashes triggers awakenings.
Melatonin- the sleep-wake cycle hormone. It usually helps you keep and remain asleep. During the menopausal period, your body has less melatonin, contributing to your sleep disorder.
Restless legs syndrome
Restless leg syndrome, aka RLS, is the tingling, creepy-crawly sensation in your legs at night, often disrupting sleep. A study showed that during post-menopause, women tend to suffer RLS at its worse that can intensify insomnia.
Change is inevitable; however, menopause causes a significant difference in a woman’s life – the unofficial bell of old age. Physical symptoms are common and noticeable during menopause. Nevertheless, it also impacts significantly on your mental condition.
Irritation, anxiety, and depression- three conditions that are almost unavoidable during menopause. While sleep and mood are related to each other, this imbalanced mental condition affects your sleep immensely.
Menopause Insomnia: How Long Does It Last
Menopause insomnia: an awakening nightmare. How long am I going to suffer it? A common question of many.
Every individual is distinct and goes through different experiences. For some women, menopause is just a usual phase with mild and no symptoms; for others, it’s severe, struggling, and striving. Your hormonal levels start to change 7 to 10 years before your last period. After that, you begin acing symptoms – hot flashes, night sweats, mood swings, etc.
During perimenopause, your estrogen level slowly decreases for the first 1 to 6 years. It causes the continuation of symptoms in your life. Therefore, menopause insomnia can last for months and years. However, with treatment and therapy, you can manage and treat your insomnia.
Menopause Insomnia: Treatment and Therapy
Insomnia usually does not have any true cure or total cure treatment. Suppose your insomnia results from the hormonal imbalance due to menopause. In that case, you can try selective options to manage your sleep disorder.
Hormone Replacement Therapy
Hormone replacement therapy is the typical treatment that doctors prescribe to treat menopausal symptoms. In this therapy, you replace your estrogen and progesterone with synthetic hormones.
However, prolonged medication can cause several side effects, such as blood clots, breast cancer, heart diseases, etc. For this, it’s essential to have a medication plan and dose suitable and individualized for you. Hormone Replacement Therapy, LA, is a perfect healthcare center for expert doctors to provide you with a suitable plan.
Low-Dose Birth Control
A low dose of birth control medication can resolve the hormonal balance in your body. Along with managing your menopausal symptoms, it can help your sleeping disorder too.
Doctors prescribe antidepressants to treat people suffering from depression and anxiety. It can also modify your brain chemicals too, causing you to have a sound sleep. Melatonin hormones control your sleep and wake cycles. Therefore, you can talk to your doctor about melatonin medication to restore your sleep too. You can also consider alternative medication for your sleep disorder, such as yoga, acupuncture, Cognitive behavioral therapy, aromatherapy, etc.
Managing Menopause Insomnia: Tricks And Tips For Better Sleep
Sound sleep is essential to drive your regular function. Menopause insomnia is genuinely an awakening nightmare, disrupting the quality of life immensely. However, with some tricks and tips, you can say goodbye to some measure of your sleep problems.
- Have a healthy diet full of nutrients.
- Avoid alcohol, smoking, and caffeine.
- Exercise daily, however less before bedtime.
- Keep your bedroom cozy, comfortable, and calm, helpful for your sound sleep.
- Take a warm bath before bed
- Follow the same bedtime routine each night.
- Avoid using sleeping pills.
- Keep your room temperature low to prevent your hot flashes and sweat during the night.
Menopause insomnia: an awakening nightmare. Sleeping disorder is a life-affecting issue that intensifies during the menopausal period considerably. Sometimes the issue needs medical attention to resolve the situation.
Suppose you are looking for an answer to your menopausal insomnia. In that case, Hormone Replacement Therapy, LA, is your best answer. The expert doctors are ready to assist you in managing your menopausal sleep disorder and insomnia.