The menopause can cause a variety of unpleasant symptoms, and trouble sleeping is just one of them. But why is this? Why do many women struggle to sleep well when going through the menopause? Moreover, is there anything that can be done to improve sleep during this time?
Sleep Problems During Menopause
When most people think about the symptoms associated with menopause, the imagine irregular periods, night sweats and hot flashes, but trouble sleeping may not be the first thing that springs to mind. However, sleep problems are quite common.In fact, they tend to start during perimenopause, which is the period before the menopause and when hormone levels begin to change (in other words, women first start to notice changes to their menstrual cycle).
Issues with sleep often come because of the changing hormones; this can sometimes lead to depression. Then there are the hot flashes and night sweats to contend with. It is no surprise that it would be difficult to sleep when you suddenly experience the sensation of heat all over your body. When this is accompanied with sweating, you might wake up wet and uncomfortable. You may then find it hard to get back to sleep, especially as hot flashes can last for as long as five minutes at a time.This might not sound very long but can seem like an eternity in the middle of the night.
Is There Anything You Can Do to Improve Your Sleep?
The good news is that there are things that can be done to help improve the symptoms of menopause, including those sleep issues. For example, if other symptoms of menopause, such as hot flashes and night sweats, are the cause of your sleep problems, your doctor will likely look at addressing these with medication (where appropriate).
One of the most common ways of treating menopause symptoms is with hormone replacement therapy (HRT). HRT can be given in different forms including as a patch, a pill, or vaginal cream. It contains estrogen and may be given by itself or combined with progesterone. Nevertheless, not every woman can safely take HRT, particularly those with an increased risk of breast cancer or those who have a history of blood clots.
For those who are not suitable for HRT, other medications such as antidepressants in low dose form may help to relieve some of the symptoms of menopause (such as the hot flashes).
In addition to medication though there are other ways to improve sleep quality, with regular exercise being one of them. Menopausal women who incorporate exercise into their daily routine often report improvements in their sleep patterns. However, if you want to improve sleepbe sure to avoid strenuous exercise in the two-to-three hours before you usually head to bed.
Your sleep quality can also be enhanced if you make a few changes at night. For example, it is a good idea to wear breathable fabrics to bed, such as cotton, and make sure that the sheets are also made from cotton. Avoid fleecy fabrics as these will make you sweat more. Furthermore, make sure the temperature of your bedroom is not too hot or too cold.
Something else that might help to improve sleep is complementary therapy. According to the folks at Maloca Sound, music therapy, sound therapy, and sound baths can all help to reduce anxiety and stress and consequently help to promote rest and relaxation, which can improve sleep.
To conclude, one of the symptoms of menopause is trouble sleeping. This can often be a consequence of other symptoms such as hot flashes and night sweats. Thankfully, there is plenty that can be done to improve sleep including medication, regular exercise, and complementary therapies like sound baths.