Sleep and Menopause Research

Sleep and Menopause Research

Millions of women experience menopause. As a woman ages, their body changes. Menopause is when a woman’s fertility cycle ends, and they’re no longer able to bear children. But this is a major shift in how a woman’s body worked, and for some women there can be side effects beyond the cessation of their menstrual cycle. Hot flashes are a common post menopausal symptom women experience.

Normally felt as a hot sensation, accompanied by sweats or even chills, they can produce anxiety. Especially when they’re a new sensation, or if a woman isn’t expecting the hot flash to occur. While hot flashes are usually brief, five minutes or less, they can still be quite dramatic. They’re triggered by hormonal changes that follow along with menopause. Many scientists believe reduced estrogen levels, that occur during menopause, are responsible for altering how a woman’s hypothalamus will regulate the body’s temperature.

Another symptom of menopause is problems sleeping. Hot flashes can play a role in sleep disruptions as well. One study looked at women living on the West Coast of the United States, and tracked their sleep to look for any factors that could be determined. The findings pointed to a little over one in four sleep disruptions being a result of hot flashes.  Moodiness and anxiety during menopause can partially be contributed to sleep disturbances.

Key Points:

  • 1Hot flashes are quite common with menopausal women, happening in almost 85% of them.
  • 2When women could remember their nighttime hot flashes, they tended to be more irritable in the morning.
  • 3Insomnia and sleep apnea increase during menopause.

The authors found that hot-flash associated wake time accounted for, on average, 27.2% of PSG-defined wakefulness during the night in peri-menopausal women.

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