Menopause is infamous for producing bothersome symptoms like hot flashes, mood swings, and vaginal dryness. These symptoms have the power to interrupt your daily life, and for many women, menopausal symptoms don’t disappear when their heads hit the pillow at night.
Hormonal changes during menopause can contribute to significant sleep changes that leave you feeling fatigued and cranky the next day, and hot flashes don’t stop simply because you’re trying to sleep. In fact, an estimated 61% of women report sleep problems during menopause.
Whether you’re in perimenopause or menopause, knowing what to expect — and how you can manage your symptoms — can help you feel more like yourself and get a better night’s sleep.
At Samuel D. Van Kirk, MD, Dr. Van Kirk and our team specialize in helping women survive menopause and manage their most bothersome symptoms.
The links between menopause and sleep
Menopause is the biological process that happens when your reproductive years end. In perimenopause (the period of time leading up to menopause), your estrogen and progesterone levels start to decline.
When you enter menopause, your menstrual cycles end and you’re no longer able to get pregnant.
Declining hormone levels lead to menopausal symptoms and changes in sleep patterns. One of the most common symptoms is hot flashes, or sudden feelings of warmth over your head, neck, and chest. Nearly 85% of women experience hot flashes in menopause.
Hot flashes that happen at night are called night sweats, and they can wake you up soaked in sweat.
Another common symptom of menopause is insomnia, or difficulty falling asleep. Some women also develop sleep apnea during menopause. Coupled with a lower quality of sleep and night sweats, it’s very common to experience daytime sleepiness and irritability throughout menopause.
Ways to get more restful sleep
From difficulty falling asleep to waking up in the night drenched in sweat, menopause can compromise your quality of sleep in many ways. If you’re affected by insomnia, fatigue, or night sweats, there are a few different methods you can try to get more restful sleep.
Wear loose, lightweight clothing when you sleep. Choose natural, breathable fibers like cotton for your pajamas and your bedsheets. Keep your bedroom cool, and consider using a fan to keep air moving.
Keep a regular bedtime schedule. Go to bed at the same time each night, even on the weekends. Wake up at the same time each day, and avoid taking midday naps if possible.
Maintaining a healthy lifestyle can minimize menopausal symptoms and improve your ability to fall asleep and stay asleep. Exercise regularly, but make sure your workouts are several hours before bedtime. Eat a healthy diet, and minimize your caffeine intake.
Manage menopause symptoms with hormone therapy
Some women find that symptoms of menopause are short-lived, or that lifestyle changes are enough to make them manageable. For others, symptoms can last for several years and significantly affect their quality of life.
If you’re suffering from intense menopause symptoms that compromise your sleep and leave you feeling exhausted and unproductive during the day, you could be a candidate for hormone replacement therapy.
Dr. Van Kirk offers bioidentical hormone replacement therapy (BHRT) as a treatment option for menopause symptoms. Therapy works by balancing your hormone levels to minimize unpleasant symptoms like hot flashes and night sweats.
Talk to Dr. Van Kirk if you’re interested in hormone replacement therapy. He performs a comprehensive review of your health and your symptoms to determine if you’re a good candidate, then monitors your health as you take the hormone supplements to ensure you’re getting the best results with the lowest possible dose.
Don’t let menopause steal your shut-eye. Call our office in Redding, California, at 530-242-4129 or send us a message online to get started.