so when hormone levels spike or drop — such as during the menstrual cycle, during and after pregnancy, and especially around menopause — women may be more vulnerable to sleep problems. “sleep studies have shown that women are more prone to having their sleep disturbed in the first half of the night by having a hot flash,” says sharon wong, md, facog, chairman of the perinatal department at adventist medical center in portland. if you can’t get to sleep at all, says ricki pollycove, md, facog, former chief of the division of gynecology at the california pacific medical center and the author of the complete idiot’s guide to bioidentical hormones, your sleep problem may not be due to menopause. in fact, a large study, presented at the annual meeting of the american college of obstetricians and gynecologists in may 2010, found that menopausal women with sleep problems due to hot flashes got significant relief from estrogen therapy.
“studies have found that by having room temperatures lower, and by wearing layers to bed that you can take off or put on, women are less disturbed by hot flashes and have more restful sleep patterns,” says wong. “but one thing we do know,” says pollycove, “is that women with a lot of sleep disturbances during pregnancy are more vulnerable to postpartum depression.” another huge shift in hormones happens after the baby is born — so this is another time when you may find yourself struggling with sleep. but there are women with premenstrual syndrome for whom sleep disruption can be a symptom.” if you’re one of them, and if sleep issues are really wreaking havoc in your life every 28 days or so, then one possible solution is hormonal birth control. if menstrual pain is keeping you up at night, you can try one of the available medications that combines a pain reliever with a sleep aid.
research also suggests that progesterone and estrogen may protect women against sleep apnea, but menopause cancels out that benefit. older women estrogen has been proved to decrease sleep latency, the number of awakening after sleep occurs, and cyclic spontaneous arousals; and increase total sleep time [ estrogen plays a role in the metabolism of serotonin and other neurotransmitters that affect our sleep-wake cycle. estrogen also helps keep our, .
hormones. the menopausal decline of estrogen contributes to disrupted sleep by causing menopausal symptoms from hot flushes and sweats (vasomotor symptoms) to anxiety and depressed mood; anxiety leading to difficulty getting to sleep, and depression leading to non-restorative sleep and early morning wakening. due to the physiology female hormones play, women suffer from insomnia at nearly twice the rate of men. low estrogen levels typically cause insomnia, because estrogen helps move magnesium into tissues, which is crucial for catalyzing the synthesis of important sleep neurotransmitters, including melatonin. millions of women suffer from low estrogen and sleep disturbances. sleep problems, insomnia, and menopausal fatigue are common if menopause estrogen and hormonal changes can wreak havoc on sleep. in turn, sleep deprivation can affect hormone levels in a sleepless vicious cycle. so when hormone hot flashes and sweating can make it difficult to sleep. according to the national sleep foundation, approximately 61% of menopausal women have, .
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