The Mysterious Reason You’re Unable To Sleep Through The Night
Reviewed by Dr. Lisa Czanko
Perhaps you used to fall asleep anywhere anytime, just close your eyes and you’re in dreamland. Or maybe sleep was a bit harder for you and dreamland seemed like, well, a far off dream.
Over time, though, your late-night snooze sessions have turned into a late-night Google session. You may be waking up hot, frustrated and unable to fall back to sleep. What the heck is going on?
These seemingly random sleep changes in combination with symptoms such as irregular periods, vaginal dryness, and mood changes could point toward perimenopause.
In this article, we’ll explain the reason behind sleep disturbances during perimenopause and a bunch of science-backed tips to find your way back to those sweet, sweet Zzzs.
The Truth About Poor Sleep During Perimenopause
Difficulty sleeping is a common symptom during perimenopause. It is estimated that 32-40% of people experience difficulty sleeping during early perimenopause, and this increases to 38-46% in the later menopause transition.
(Not sure of the difference between perimenopause and menopause? Read up in our latest comprehensive article.)
There are a few key factors that can contribute to sleep disturbances during perimenopause.
Stress and mood changes
Anxiety, depression, and irritability are common during perimenopause due to the irregularity of hormone levels. Not to mention how annoying some of the other symptoms are to deal with on top of your regularly scheduled life.
Stress and mood swings can make restful sleep more difficult. For people dealing with significant mood changes, it is important that they discuss their symptoms and treatment options with a medical provider.
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Some people have difficulty sleeping during perimenopause because of hot flashes and night sweats.
A hot flash is a sudden feeling of heat in the chest and face that spreads throughout the body, and is associated with increased sweating and a racing heartbeat. When these occur during sleep at night time, it’s called night sweats.
Besides a bit of shock after waking up in a puddle, the process of changing clothes, sheets, and settling back into bed can disturb a restful night’s sleep.
Beside perimenopause, several medical conditions, such as obstructive sleep apnea, urinary problems, and chronic pain, can be associated with poor sleep. The prevalence of these conditions increases with age, so it makes sense that they are seen more often during the menopause transition.
It has also been suggested that sleep disturbances may be more common in people who went through surgical menopause (had ovaries surgically removed before the natural onset of menopause) than those who go through menopause more gradually as a part of the natural transition.
Lifestyle and sleep hygiene
If you step back and look at life during perimenopause, it can be, well, a lot. Kids, if you have them, can be a handful, parents are getting older, and careers are full of responsibilities.
So it’s no surprise people sometimes reach for caffeine, social media, or nicotine. But believe it or not, these things we do to make it through our everyday lives can affect the quality and duration of sleep. However, sleeping well doesn't have to be something to lose any sleep over (pun intended). There are some tricks that can help.
Lifestyle tips for improving sleep quality
The first step in addressing sleep problems during perimenopause is to maintain healthy sleep practices. You may not be able to regulate your hormones, but you can regulate your bedtime routine!
Perfecting a bedtime routine
With everything going on in life, it’s easy to slap on some face cream and hit the sack without a second thought. But giving your nighttime routine a bit of attention (and consistency) can improve your mindset and cue your body for relaxation.
Here are some proven tips for creating a peaceful bedtime routine:
- Intentionally going to sleep and waking up at the same time everyday
- Increasing exposure to sunlight during the day and limiting exposure to bright light and screens at night
- Getting regular exercise during the day, but not in the evening prior to bedtime
- Journaling for stress relief
- Engaging in a relaxing activity before bedtime, such as meditation or taking a warm bath
- Avoiding eating a heavy meal in the evening
- Avoiding alcohol and caffeine
- Not taking naps during the day
- Not using the bed for anything other than sleep or sex
- Doing cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) with a therapist or app
Night sweat remedies
If night sweats are interfering with sleep, sometimes lifestyle modifications can help.
- Dress in layers so you can easily adjust your temperature
- Wear clothing and sleep on sheets made with breathable and moisture-wicking fabrics, like cotton or bamboo
- Use a fan to circulate cool air throughout the room or set your air conditioner between 60-67 degrees
In general, if these lifestyle interventions do not adequately alleviate symptoms, it is a good idea to speak to a medical provider to rule out other causes of sleep problems and discuss treatment options.
Sleep Aids For Better Sleep
Because sleep is such a vital part of health, many people seek help via over-the-counter treatments. Here’s what to know about them.
OTC sleep aids
Over the counter sleep aids may be helpful in the short term, but some people experience daytime sleepiness. Additionally, for some, long term use can build up tolerance, which means that the medication does not work as well or that more of the medication is needed to provide the same effect as it did before.There are many supplements out there that are marketed to help people sleep, but the data is mixed or inconclusive for many of these.
SimpleHealth wanted to make a sleep supplement that is evidence-based and people can trust. This is the basis of Sleep Restore.
Sleep Restore contains melatonin, magnesium, and glycine. There is evidence that melatonin may support better sleep and that magnesium can support improved sleep quality and sleep duration. Glycine is an amino acid that has been shown to help decrease the amount of time it takes to fall asleep and have more restful sleep.
Sleep Restores dosages are doctor formulated to more closely mimic the body’s natural needs, versus the megadoses that are common in other over-the-counter products.
Falling asleep and staying asleep can be tricky during perimenopause. Sleep problems can be compounded by mood changes, night sweats, or other medical problems. Managing stress and building a bedtime routine can help, along with chatting with your medical provider.
Our Simple Note
Although sleep problems are common, it doesn’t mean you have to brush off poor sleep as “normal” or “just a part of life.” Poor sleep is associated with a decreased quality of life and emotional distress. Additionally, long-term effects of insufficient sleep include high blood pressure, heart disease, and type 2 diabetes. Let’s stop the train before it leaves the tracks. Addressing sleep problems during perimenopause is a great step to ensuring a healthy transition into menopause.
Try our new sleep supplement for better rest.
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