Sleep Disorders & Menopause

The results of symptoms caused by sleep disorders are often closely correlated to other symptoms of menopause. For example – night sweats (the nighttime version of hot flushes) can disrupt sleep patterns by causing a woman to awaken several times during the night. Sleep disorders can also lead to further depression and anxiety, which may make sleep difficult. This can cause a vicious cycle of lack of sleep, fatigue, crying uncontrollably and other unpleasant symptoms of menopause.

While it is possible to suffer from sleep disorders such as sleep apnoea and be completely unaware of this during the evening, these interruptions in a woman’s sleep will surely have a noticeable effect on her daily life.

Below is a list of common effects of sleep disorders

  • Reduced capacity for learning, speech and memory
  • Inability to concentrate on daily tasks
  • The tendency to gain weight (arghhhh)
  • Weakened immune system
  • Damage to business and personal relationships
  • Increased irritability
  • Depression and fatigue

Below is a list of risk factors that can make a woman more susceptible to sleep disorders:

  • Obesity
  • High blood pressure
  • Age
  • Use of caffeine or nicotine
  • Use of drugs or alcohol
  • Inactivity or lack of exercise
  • Working night shifts

The following tips might keep you cooler at night and help you sleep better without the use of hormones:

  • Wear loose clothing to bed. Clothing made of natural fibres, like cotton, is usually best.
  • Keep your bedroom cool and well-ventilated.
  • Avoid certain foods that may cause sweating (such as spicy foods), especially right before bed.

Other practices that may ease sleep problems during menopause include:

  • Maintain a regular bedtime schedule, including going to bed at the same time every night.
  • Exercise regularly but NOT right before sleep.
  • Avoid excessive caffeine.
  • Avoid naps during the day, which can prevent you from sleeping well at night.
  • Talk to your doctor about natural remedies that can help you sleep.
  • Make sure you empty your bladder before bed.
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