If you are a woman who is just 40 years old, you probably have a lot in your head. Certain health risks increase as you get older, certain medical tests are on your radar once you are 40. You are almost at the end of your reproductive years. And you do not even talk about gray hairs and wrinkles that were not usually a problem. But what about rest? Recent studies show that menopause and insomnia, and insomnia in women over 40 are a real problem.
Menopausal women are more likely to suffer insomnia and sleep less.
A report that analyzed data from the 2015 National Health Interview Survey found that, of the women surveyed, “perimenopausal (56.0%) were more likely than postmenopausal (40.5%) and premenopausal (32.5%) to sleep less than 7 hours, on average, in a 24-hour period.
Bad sleep habits do not end when menopause ends. The data findings show that postmenopausal women aged 40-59 years (55.1%) were more likely than premenopausal women aged 40-59 (47.0%) to wake up without a good rest for 4 days or more during the week.
So, why does this happen? What is it about menopause that causes women to suffer from insomnia at night, problems sleeping and, in general, lack of sleep?
Consider what happens in your body during menopause. From hot flushes to hormonal changes, a woman’s body goes through many things in the transition to menopause. All these changes affect much more than the reproductive cycle or sexual health.
Menopause is defined as the end of your reproductive years, when menstruation stops. Generally speaking, it is considered that you are waiting for menopause when you do not have a menstrual cycle for 12 consecutive months. Menopause is usually divided into 3 phases: perimenopause, menopause and postmenopause. Perimenopause is when a woman’s body begins to produce less estrogen and can occur many years before menopause occurs.
The menopause occurs when a woman’s menstrual cycle stops. And postmenopause are the years after menopause. During postmenopause most hormonal symptoms end and your body no longer releases eggs or produce high levels of estrogen.
What is the connection between menopause and insomnia? Let’s start with hormones. According to Joyce Walsleben, RN, Ph.D., and the National Sleep Foundation, estrogen and progesterone are affected by menopause. Those two hormones are related to promote sleep. “Changes in the proportions of hormones can be a disturbing process and, sometimes, contribute to the inability to sleep. Also, the decreasing levels of estrogen could make you more susceptible to stressors, environmental factors and more things that disturb sleep.” he explains.
In addition, menopausal women experience intense hot flashes, which can make it difficult to stay and stay comfortable during bedtime. These hot flashes and sweats can happen at any time, including at night when you are trying to sleep. Imagine how it feels outside at 95 degrees of humidity. Now imagine feeling like this while you try to sleep. Add to that irritability and mood swings … it’s no surprise why you’re not sleeping well.
Although in some cases insomnia in women over 40 years is nothing to worry about, for others it can be a real problem. Remember that menopause is not a 1-week process. Menopause is carried out in stages and can occur over the course of many and very irritating years.
Bad sleep habits with the passage of time can cause extreme fatigue, chronic insomnia and other health risks. And those occur when your body does not get the rest it requires.
What should a menopause do?
Certain factors are undoubtedly beyond your control when it comes to menopause and how your body responds to this new stage of your hormonal life. But there are some things you can do to improve your sleep experience.
First of all, practice sleep habits consistent and concise, and go to sleep at a healthy hour, maintain a normal sleep routine, and make your bedroom a safe and relaxing environment. In addition to that, maintaining a healthy diet and exercise routine could improve the quality of sleep.
Second, keep exercising. If menopausal women take 1 hour of exercise every day for 3 months, the body can return to the younger state. Hormonal changes do not affect women’s athletic ability. As we age, estrogen levels and aerobic capacity decline. But exercise can improve women’s blood circulation system, make them look younger.
Change and adjust your diet. In menopause, women may control the amount of food input, choose low-calorie, low-carbohydrate and low-fat diet. Meanwhile, foods with high calcium content are recommended, such as milk, yogurt, soy products, and kelp. At the same time, vitamin D may be supplemented to help the absorption of calcium. More fresh fruits and vegetables are always preferred.
Menopausal women sometimes have neurological and mental symptoms such as mood swings, memory loss, and flustered insomnia. So they can eat more foods rich in B vitamins, such as coarse grains, beans, nuts, lean meat, and so on.
For some women, hormone replacement therapy (HRT) may work not only to relieve the symptoms of menopause, but to improve sleep habits by supplying estrogen to your body that it can no longer produce naturally. As always, discuss any symptoms or concerns you may have with your doctor and seek professional medical advice and attention when you need it.
Please note that all these tips mentioned here are strictly informational. We do not provide medical advice. So if you are suffering insomnia seriously, please consult with your doctor first before using any of these tips or treatments.
By the way, here are some other information about menopause, just for your reference.