Have you noticed that you’re not sleeping well lately? Perimenopause could be the cause. Learn how to find the root of your poor sleep and ways you can get better rest.
If you’ve noticed sudden changes to your sleep, it could be due to the onset of menopause. This guide reviews some of the symptoms and causes of sleep disturbances during menopause and what you can do about it all.
What Causes Sleep Disturbances During Menopause?
Many women notice their sleep quality changes during perimenopause. It can be one of the first signs that you’re entering menopause, and diminished sleep quality can continue if the underlying causes aren’t identified and addressed by medical experts. Some of the reasons menopausal women report poor sleep quality include the following.
Women entering menopause are much more likely to suffer from sleep apnea. There are several forms of sleep apnea, but all of them impact how you breathe while you’re resting. Obstructive sleep apnea is the most common form and it may cause you to wake up momentarily throughout the night because you have stopped breathing.
Another form of sleep apnea involves the signals between your brain and respiratory system while you’re asleep. If your brain isn’t communicating properly with your lungs and airways, you could stop breathing despite not having any obstructions. This condition is treated differently than obstructive sleep apnea.
The only way to confirm whether you have sleep apnea is to request a sleep study. During the study, you’re observed overnight while wearing special sensors that detect how you move and breathe through the night. Some people who have trouble sleeping in a sleep center may qualify for a home sleep study to diagnose sleep apnea.
It’s important to talk to your doctor if you snore loudly or if your partner reports that you wake up frequently gasping for air. Sleep apnea can have severe health consequences without treatment, so you should identify and treat it as soon as possible to ensure the best outcome.
If you’re experiencing hot flashes for the first time, you might not know how to identify them correctly. Women who experience hot flashes report feeling warm in their upper bodies or faces. You may also notice that your skin becomes visibly red when you’re having a hot flash.
The intensity of hot flashes can vary, and they may be accompanied by other symptoms. Common symptoms of hot flashes include an elevated heart rate, feeling like you’re going to have a panic attack, sweating a lot and then feeling cold after the hot flash subsides. Most hot flashes last fewer than 5 minutes.
Women with poor sleep quality during menopause often report waking up before a hot flash rather than while in the middle of one. You could also experience one during your sleep without it disturbing you at all. If you notice you’re waking up sweaty and flushed, you’re probably suffering from hot flashes that are disrupting your sleep.
Your ability to maintain your body temperature, digest food, have a healthy sex life and sleep are all linked to hormonal balances. During perimenopause, women begin to lose some of the hormones they had throughout their adult lives, which can disrupt normal bodily functions.
Signs of a hormonal imbalance include mood swings, changes in how you eat, weight gain, restlessness, depression and losing interest in sex. As your body adapts to these changes, your sleep could suffer because you don’t have enough of the hormones your brain normally releases to enter a sleep state.
You may discover that it’s more difficult to fall asleep or could wake up multiple times throughout the night. The best way to determine whether your poor sleep is due to hormones is to have labwork performed. This can also rule out dietary imbalances such as a vitamin deficiency, which may impact sleep health.
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How to Get a Better Night’s Rest
Perimenopause signals a significant change in your life, both during your waking hours and while you sleep. While some of these changes are completely out of your control, you can do some things to make it easier to rest at night.
It’s always a good idea to report your symptoms to your doctor and work with your care team while you’re treating symptoms of menopause. Other things that can help include the following.
Stay Physically Active
Physical activity can help you get better sleep because it makes your body release sleep-related hormones required for deep rest. Exercising can also help you maintain a healthy weight and fight off symptoms of depression or anxiety. You’re more likely to both fall asleep and remain asleep through the night if you log at least three exercise sessions a week that are 30 minutes long.
Eat Well Throughout the Day
If you’re having trouble sleeping, it’s important to make sure you’re eating a balanced diet. Nutritional deficiencies can have the same symptoms as menopausal sleep disturbances. If you’re not getting enough of the vitamins and minerals you need, it could be one of the reasons you’re struggling to feel rested. Eating poorly could also be making your menopausal symptoms worse. If you don’t know how to create a healthy and balanced diet for menopause, you should work with a nutritionist who can review your health history and make recommendations.
Consider Hormone Replacement Therapy
Hormone replacement therapy may help you address many of the symptoms you’re dealing with during menopause. Hormonal changes are what drive most of these symptoms, so replacing the hormones you have lost can ease a lot of the discomfort. You shouldn’t attempt hormone replacement therapy unless under the supervision of a medical professional. Speak with your doctor about your options.
Schedule a Sleep Study
One of the best ways to diagnose and treat sleep problems is to allow medical professionals to observe how you’re sleeping at night. Your doctor can glean a lot of information from the data collected during a sleep study and recommend medications or treatment devices to help. You may be able to get a better night’s sleep when taking prescription medications or using devices designed to keep you from waking up in the middle of the night.
How We Can Help
If you’re experiencing poor sleep during the transition into menopause, we can help. If you’re encountering any of the problems we’ve written about above, contact us to arrange a meeting with a women’s health specialist. We can help you identify the cause of your symptoms and review practical and effective treatment options.