Lack of quality Zzzs can make your menopause worse.
Everyone experiences a bad night’s sleep once in a while. Lack of sleep can sometimes be caused by seemingly innocent sleep-disrupting habits, such as indulging in a little too much Instagram time or eating a spicy Indian dinner right before bedtime.
If you’re going through menopause, however, you’re probably well aware of what’s keeping you up at night: sweaty hot flashes, getting up to pee multiple times a night, and mood fluctuations that tend to hit an all-time high when all you want to do is rest, to name a few.
“Difficulty sleeping during menopause is really common,” says Sonal Chaudhry, MD, an endocrinologist at NYU Langone Health. That’s because changes in hormone levels can trigger menopause symptoms that directly affect your sleep quantity and quality. For example, low levels of progesterone can make it hard to fall and stay asleep, and low estrogen levels can cause hot flashes at night which can keep you up.
Lack of sleep may not only cause you to be tired, irritable, and less inclined to make healthy choices the next day, but it may also make your menopause symptoms worse, says Dr. Chaudhry. Bad sleep quality is also associated with weight gain and can increase your risk for metabolic syndrome.
“It’s important to try to get the best sleep you can,” says Dr. Chaudhry. Learn more about how skimping on sleep affects your health.
Thankfully, there are many lifestyle changes you can try to get better shut-eye. Here are eight tips to help you sleep better during menopause.
1. Limit alcohol intake before bed. “One intervention that my patients have found to be really helpful is reducing their alcohol intake. Even a glass or two of wine at dinner can have a negative effect on their sleep. And when they stop that they’ve found that their sleep quality has improved considerably,” says Dr. Chaudhry.
2. Keep cold water on your nightstand. Keep ice water close by to drink when you feel a hot flash coming on.
3. Use a fan. Keep cool by placing a fan by your bed at night.
4. Wear layers that you can peel off at night if you get hot … or sleep nude! Here’s why sleeping commando is actually really good for your health.
5. Wake up and going to sleep at the same time every day. This will get your circadian rhythm, or internal clock, on track and may help you fall asleep more easily. If it helps, set an alarm for your chosen bedtime and wake time, and adhere to it as much as possible (even on weekends!).
6. Create a restful sleep environment. Keep your bedroom dark, quiet, and cool. Use your bedroom only for sleep and sex, if you can.
7. Avoid caffeine late in the day. Have your java fix before lunch. If you need a midday pick me up, try going for a walk instead.
8. Exercise regularly, but not before bed. “If you do exercise it’s actually really good for sleep, but it’s important for you to exercise in the earlier part of your day, because exercise later in the day can also interfere with sleep,” says Dr. Chaudhry.
“It’s hard to adhere to all these sleep hygiene guidelines, but it may be worthwhile to try one or a few of them to see what works best for you,” says Dr. Chaudhry. Here are more doctor-approved sleep tips to try.
If these sleep fixes don’t work for you and your lack of Zzzs is significantly affecting your quality of life, see a doctor. “If symptoms are moderate to severe, hormones are really the most effective way to treat them” says Dr. Chaudhry.
Dr. Chaudhry is an endocrinologist at NYU Langone Health in New York City.
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Difficulty sleeping during
menopause is really common.
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I think there are a number of reasons
that contribute to sleep disturbance,
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one of course is if night
sweats are waking you up.
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Because estrogen and
loss of estrogen affects the urinary and
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vaginal tissues, women may get up at night
more frequently to use the bathroom,
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there are some mood changes
that can affect sleep.
00:00:31,566 --> 00:00:36,337
Or if you're not sleeping well,
you may experience daytime fatigue,
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you may be more irritable,
your mood changes maybe heightened.
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You may feel less inclined to exercise and
be your usual healthy self.
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We also know that if
you're not sleeping well,
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that's associated with weight gain and
it has metabolic risk as well,
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so it's important to try to
get the best sleep you can.
00:00:57,300 --> 00:00:58,870
When it comes to hot flashes and
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there are a number of lifestyle
interventions that you can definitely try.
00:01:03,060 --> 00:01:05,670
One intervention that my
patients have found to be
00:01:05,670 --> 00:01:08,230
really helpful is reducing
their alcohol intake.
00:01:08,230 --> 00:01:11,950
Even a glass or two of wine with dinner
can have negative impacts on their sleep.
00:01:11,950 --> 00:01:13,462
And when they've stopped that,
00:01:13,462 --> 00:01:16,142
they've found that their sleep
quality has improved considerably.
00:01:16,142 --> 00:01:21,040
If possible, try to go to bed and try to
wake up at the same time every evening.
00:01:21,040 --> 00:01:24,690
Make sure your bedroom is for
sleeping or sexual activity only.
00:01:24,690 --> 00:01:27,430
Avoid caffeine in
the later part of your day.
00:01:27,430 --> 00:01:30,840
If you do exercise,
it's actually really good for sleep.
00:01:30,840 --> 00:01:33,660
But it's important for you to exercise
in the earlier part of the day because
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exercise later in the day can
also interfere with sleep.
00:01:37,630 --> 00:01:41,160
It's hard to adhere to all of
these sleep hygiene guidelines.
00:01:41,160 --> 00:01:45,650
But it may be worthwhile to try one or
00:01:45,650 --> 00:01:47,660
a few of them to see what works best for
00:01:47,660 --> 00:01:49,170
If symptoms are moderate to severe,
00:01:49,170 --> 00:01:52,960
hormones are really the most
effective way to treat them.
00:01:52,960 --> 00:01:55,180
If your sleep quality isn't optimized,
00:01:55,180 --> 00:01:58,270
it can make your other menopausal
symptoms worse as well.
00:01:58,270 --> 00:02:01,792
Especially if you feel excessively tired
during the day, if you feel irritable,
00:02:01,792 --> 00:02:04,970
it's important to talk to your doctor
if you're having those symptoms.
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Insomnia treatments (Beyond the basics). UpToDate. (Accessed on July 16, 2018 at https://www.uptodate.com/contents/insomnia-treatments-beyond-the-basics)
Menopause symptoms and relief. Office on Women’s Health. US. Department of Health and Human Services. (Accessed on July 16, 2018 at https://www.womenshealth.gov/menopause/menopause-symptoms-and-relief)