Sleep Do You
Really Need Each Night?
According to leading sleep experts, women tend to need more sleep than men.
Perhaps because of a natural tendency to multitask, most women actively use more of their brains during the course of the day. Because of this, women’s brains need more sleep just to recover and then perform those basic tasks each day. (1)
Neuroscientists have found that women can greatly benefit from even just twenty minutes more sleep than men. Unfortunately, this is easier said than done. Women experience far more sleep troubles than men do, and sadly many of these go unnoticed. Women are two to three times more likely to have insomnia than men and also more likely to have problems with sleep apnea. (2)
When women experience this lack of sleep, they often suffer more than a sleep-deprived man. Mood can be dramatically impacted and women are more prone to developing other health complications due to this lack of sleep. (3)
As women age and begin to go through the change, these sleep problems are compounded by fluctuating hormones and symptoms of menopause.
The Most Common Menopause Symptoms
As you approach menopause, your hormones start to fluctuate. These fluctuations cause many symptoms that can make daily living uncomfortable. Some of the more common menopause symptoms are as follows:
1) Hot Flashes: This one is probably the most well-known symptom. Almost every woman who has gone through menopause has experienced this problem. With seemingly no warning, your body will suddenly become hot across the chest, neck and face. Often these hot flashes are accompanied by excessive sweating. (4)
2) Night Sweats: Sometimes during menopause, you’ll be comfortable when out of nowhere, you start sweating profusely. While not physically overheated, your body certainly makes it feel that way. These night sweats are typically a result of experiencing hot flashes while you sleep.
3) Weight Gain: No woman wants to pack on the pounds. Unfortunately, as your hormones go into freefall during perimenopause, this is also a symptom that is tough to escape. On average, women gain 10 to 15 pounds during menopause. Opinion is still mixed as to whether this weight gain is a direct result of menopause or linked to natural ageing but, whatever its cause, putting on weight comes hand in glove with the menopause transition for many women. (5)
4) Mood Swings: Hormones play a huge role in tempering your emotions. As your hormones begin to bob up and down, your mood can be greatly affected. It might seem like you catapult from happy to distraught, then from angry to normal in a matter of seconds. These uncontrollable emotions are just as frustrating for you as they are for those around you. (6)
5) Itchy Skin: Another physically uncomfortable symptom of menopause is itchy skin. This itching can occur all over the body, from the trunk to the face, from the breasts to the calves. The itchiness is caused by a depletion of collagen in the skin, which is a result of the hormone estrogen decreasing in your body during the change. (7)
How Sleep Can Make These Symptoms Worse
Not getting enough sleep can exacerbate menopausal symptoms, which is particularly tiresome since a major symptom of menopause is sleep problems. It goes round and round.
Lack of sleep can also lead to an increase in the number of hot flashes you experience and it can also lead to more profuse night sweats. (8)
Not getting enough sleep greatly affects a woman’s mental state. During menopause when your hormones are out of kilter, this becomes even more of an issue. (9)
Failing to get sufficient sleep can lead to weight gain while weighing too much can result in the inability to get a good night’s rest, another Catch-22. Maintaining a healthy weight is important to your all-around health. (10)
Some Simple Tips For a Better Night’s Sleep
As you can see, getting enough sleep is vital and this need is enhanced still further when you are going through the menopause transition.
Here are a few handy tips to help you rest easier during this challenging time of life…
If you are suffering from hot flashes and night sweats, try turning down the thermostat. It often helps.
Consider wearing thinner clothes (or no clothes) in bed, and opt for a lightweight blanket instead of your fluffy quilt.
If you are restless and can’t fall asleep, find some ways that you find beneficial to counter this. Consider over-the-counter medication or turning off your electronics long before bedtime. Sidestepping the blue light from tablets and smartphones can help you drop off more easily. Avoid caffeine in the evening to allow your body time to calm down and stop yourself being overstimulated.
If none of these options works well and you are really starting to feel the effects of not getting enough sleep, it might be time to talk to your doctor about how to better treat the way in which it’s impacting your symptoms and quality of life.