(Peri)menopause and Sleep
Why does sleep get disrupted during (peri) menopause and what can you do about it?
Disrupted sleep affects 84% of women going through (peri)menopause and this often has a negative impact on their daily lives. It is thought that we need between 6-9 hours sleep and this is needed: for the brain to consolidate the day’s information, to be creative, to solve problems, to help regulate emotions, to help to fight infections, and to control the hunger hormones (ghrelin tells you when you are hungry vs leptin tells you when you are full – lack of sleep raises ghrelin and reduces leptin which may lead to weight gain).
What happens to our hormones during (peri)menopause that affects our sleep?
During (peri) menopause the depletion in the reproductive hormones disrupts the process of sleep. Lower levels of oestrogen has an effect on the control centre in the brain that deals with sleep. Physiological symptoms such as night sweats will also disrupt the sleep cycle. Progesterone has a calming effect and so lower levels of progesterone may lead to increase in anxiety and feeling less relaxed.
How Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT) can help our sleep
Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT) is very effective at dealing with the symptoms associated with disrupted sleep. However, some women may choose not to take HRT and so need other strategies to combat sleep issues. Firstly, it is a good idea to have a healthy sleep routine – go to bed at the same time each day (where possible) – make sure this time is when you are tired NOT when your partner is tired; try not to eat too late; vigorous exercise may wake you so avoid this in the late evening; stop caffeine before midday; avoid alcohol – it does not help! Make sure bed is for two things only – sleep and sex.
Other tips for to benefit sleep
For years, people have found that magnesium can be beneficial for increasing sleep quality – remember Epsom Bath Salts? These contain magnesium, which is easily absorbed through the skin.
Try and calm yourself before you try and sleep. This can be through a meditation approach, a short walk, or through other means that you have found useful. A body scan meditation is useful to bring yourself into the present moment and away from mulling over past events or worrying about the future.
Finally, make sure you are comfortable – bamboo is very effective at wicking away sweat if you suffer from night sweats. Make sure your bedroom is at a good temperature and not too hot.
To summarise, disrupted sleep is one of the most common symptoms relating to (peri)menopause. If your disrupted sleep is severely impacting your daily life, you should discuss your symptoms and concerns with an expert healthcare professional who can assess your health and advise on the best line of treatment.
If you’re concerned about sleep during perimenopause and menopause and would like to find out how OMC’s personalised treatment plans can help you, get in touch via our Contact page or Book a consultation with an experienced menopause doctor.
Dr Mary-Jane Budd is a Chartered Psychologist and Performance & Wellbeing Coach from Embrace Change Coaching