Menopause Can Disrupt Your Sleep

Experts say women going through menopause can experience serious disruptions in sleep. Here’s some advice on how to help ease this problem.

According to a recent report published by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)Trusted Source, women who are going through menopausal transition are more likely to be sleep-deprived than premenopausal and postmenopausal women.

The report was based on data collected through the National Health Interview Survey (NHIS)Trusted Source.

The NHIS is a multipurpose survey that covers a wide range of topics, including health behaviors, health conditions, and healthcare access and utilization.

The subset of data for this particular report was collected from nonpregnant women aged 40 to 59 years old.

“For this whole sample of women, 35 percent indicated that they slept less than seven hours on average in a 24-hour period,” Anjel Vahratian, MPH, PhD, chief of data analysis at the CDC’s National Center for Health Statistics, told Healthline.

“But that ranged from 32 percent in premenopausal women to 56 percent in perimenopausal women,” she continued.

These findings have important implications for the health and well-being of women going through menopausal transition.

“It’s an area for targeted health promotion because we know that sleep is a modifiable risk factor for diabetes and cardiovascular disease and a variety of other health issues,” Vahratian said.

“So, it’s something for women to consider as they age, that their sleep may change over time,” she added. “They should be aware of it and consider how they might make adjustments based on their needs.”

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For optimum health, the CDCTrusted Source encourages adults to get at least seven hours of sleep per day on average.

But for women who are going through menopausal transition, that target can be challenging to meet.

“When women are in menopausal transition, the hormonal fluctuations that occur have an impact on their sleep patterns,” Joan Shaver, PhD, RN, FAAN, a professor and dean of the College of Nursing at the University of Arizona, told Healthline.

These hormonal fluctuations can negatively impact a woman’s mood and her body temperature regulation, which can in turn affect her duration and quality of sleep.

“I did studies a while ago, where we looked at what women said about their sleep at midlife and what we actually measured with polysomnography,” Shaver said.

“We found that for women who had a lot of vasomotor instability, or hot flashes and night sweats, their physical sleep was indeed not very good,” she said.

“And for women who didn’t have excessive hot flash activity but had higher levels of emotional distress, they often sensed and reported that their sleep wasn’t good,” Shaver added.

For the majority of women, menopausal symptoms are a nuisance, but not debilitating.

But for some who are particularly sensitive to fluctuations in their reproductive hormones, the symptoms of menopause can be more disruptive.

“For this subset of women who are very sensitive to hormonal fluctuations and highly bothered by symptomatology,” Shaver said, “we need to pay attention and take them seriously.”

In addition to hormonal fluctuations, other factors can also impact a woman’s sleep around the time of life that most go through menopausal transition.

For example, pressures to juggle multiple roles and navigate changes at home and work can increase midlife levels of stress.

Obstructive sleep apnea and other chronic health conditions that impact sleep also tend to become more common with age.


Source: Healthline