Menopause symptoms and treatments.
The menopause frequently causes changes in sleep patterns, such as trouble going asleep, difficulty staying asleep, or sleep interruptions brought on by night sweats or hot flushes. Daytime fatigue and low energy levels might result from getting too little or too little sleep, respectively.
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Causes of sleep problems in the menopause?
Hormonal swings: The fall in oestrogen and progesterone levels that occurs during menopause might cause sleep problems by interfering with the sleep-wake cycle. Oestrogen regulates body temperature, so when levels drop, it can cause hot flashes and night sweats, which can keep you up at night. Breastfeeding also suppresses oestrogen levels leading to a hyper vigilant state in which women can quickly respond to, and protect, their baby. During menopause this reaps havoc on a woman’s sleep quality. A decrease in progesterone, which has a calming effect, might lead to increased anxiety and trouble sleeping.
Night-time sweats and hot flushes: Many women go through menopause and experience night sweats and hot flushes, which are vasomotor symptoms that can bring on abrupt feelings of heat, sweating, and discomfort. Sweating at night and having hot flashes might make it difficult to keep a pleasant sleeping environment.
Sleep apnea: Menopause is linked to an increased chance of developing sleep apnea, a condition that causes breathing pauses while you sleep. The development or deterioration of sleep apnea during menopause can be attributed to hormonal changes, weight increase, and changes in the distribution of body fat.
Insomnia: Hormonal changes, worry, and other elements may cause sleeplessness during the menopause. The symptoms of insomnia can include trouble falling asleep, having trouble remaining asleep, or waking up too early and being unable to fall back asleep. Insomnia can also be influenced by elevated stress levels, mood swings, and other menopausal symptoms.
Mood changes and anxiety: Menopause can cause mood fluctuations, irritability, and an increase in anxiety. These symptoms can affect the quantity and quality of sleep. Hormonal changes, lifestyle modifications, and other elements may be involved.
Hormone replacement treatment (HRT): For women who suffer from significant sleep problems and other menopausal symptoms, HRT may be an option. In order to assist balance hormone levels and relieve symptoms, HRT entails taking drugs that contain oestrogen, progesterone (in women with uteruses), or oestrogen alone (in women who have undergone hysterectomy). HRT frequently has a favourable effect on sleep quality. However, it’s crucial to go over the potential advantages and disadvantages of HRT with a medical expert.
Non-hormonal medicines: Some medicines, usually used for other conditions, may help treat sleep problems during menopause. These include several antidepressants (such as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors or serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors) and gabapentin, which can help manage sleep cycles and treat hot flushes that cause sleep disruption. Magnesium glycinate and melatonin supplements may also assist with sleep.
CBT-I, or cognitive behavioural treatment for insomnia: A organised therapy called CBT-I aims to address the attitudes, actions, and routines that cause insomnia. It can assist in identifying and changing thought and behaviour patterns that disrupt sleep, enhancing the quality and quantity of sleep.
Sleepio: Sleepio is a fully automated digital sleep improvement program based on Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT). It is for adults diagnosed with Insomnia Disorder and should be used under the supervision of a healthcare professional.
Good sleep hygiene habits: Developing good sleep hygiene habits can significantly improve the quality of your sleep. Some recommendations include:
- Establishing a regular sleep routine by sleeping in and rising at regular intervals.
- Making a sleep routine that is peaceful and involves things like reading, taking a warm bath, or practising relaxation methods.
- Creating a calm, dark, and comfy bedroom environment.
- Avoiding using electronics, coffee, heavy meals, and stimulating activities just before bed.
- Maintaining a daily routine of exercise, but avoiding strenuous activities too close to bed.
Alternative therapies: Although there is little scientific evidence to support their efficacy, some women find relief from sleep problems through alternative therapies. Acupuncture, mindfulness meditation, yoga, or herbal treatments like valerian root or chamomile tea are a few examples. To guarantee their safety and explore any interactions, alternative therapies should be discussed with a healthcare practitioner before use.
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