“Menopausal symptoms, particularly hot flushes and night sweats, can disturb sleep and set off insomnia. The night sweats might change your usual pattern of sleep and…”.1

Umbrella

What may the Sleep Umbrella include?

Depending on the Source (DotS) this Umbrella may include:

  • Insomnia
  • Insufficient Sleep
  • Sleep Apnea
  • Sleep Changes/Difficulties/Disturbances/Problems/Symptoms
  • Sleep Disorders
  • Snoring
  • Unsatisfactory Sleep

How Much Sleep Do We Need?

How much sleep do we need?

In Brain Basics: Understanding Sleep – How Much Sleep Do We Need? the (United States) National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke elaborate on:

“Your need for sleep and your sleep patterns change as you age, but this varies significantly across individuals of the same age. There is no magic “number of sleep hours” that works for everybody of the same age. Babies initially sleep as much as 16 to 18 hours per day, which may boost growth and development (especially of the brain). School-age children and teens on average need about 9.5 hours of sleep per night. Most adults need 7-9 hours of sleep a night, but after age 60, nighttime sleep tends to be shorter, lighter, and interrupted by multiple awakenings. Elderly people are also more likely to take medications that interfere with sleep”.2

Menopause

Is there an association between menopause and insufficient sleep?

On page fourteen in Women & Sleep: A Guide for Better Sleep – What Is the Role of Menopause In Sleep Disturbances In Midlife Women? the (United States) Society for Women’s Health Research Interdisciplinary Network on Sleep elaborate on:

“The transition to menopause, which occurs around 51 years of age, is associated with a stark increase in sleep problems, particularly more frequent night wakings. Sleep problems are one of the most bothersome symptoms that impact quality of life in many women going through the menopausal transition”.3

In Menopause and Sleep the (United States) National Sleep Foundation (NSF) note:

Sleep
“From peri-menopause to post-menopause, women report the most sleeping problems. Most notably, these include hot flashes, mood disorders, insomnia and sleep-disordered breathing. Sleep problems are often accompanied by depression and anxiety”.4

In Menopause and Sleep the NSF also note:

“Generally, post-menopausal women are less satisfied with their sleep and as many as 61% report insomnia symptoms. Snoring has also been found to be more common and severe in post-menopausal women. Snoring, along with pauses or gasps in breathing are signs of a more serious sleep disorder, obstructive sleep apnea (OSA)”.5

In Sleep Disturbance and the Menopause the Australian Menopause Society (AMS) explain:

“Many women complain of disturbed sleep during the peri-menopause and after menopause. Complaints about poor sleep include difficulty falling and staying asleep, coupled with early morning and nocturnal awakenings”.6

In Sleep & Fatigue: Sleep Problems for Women In Midlife & Menopause the (Australian) Jean Hailes for Women’s Health (JH) also note:

“Menopause is a time many women experience insomnia and sleep disorders. Insomnia, snoring and obstructive sleep disorder become more frequent but may be under-recognised”.7

In Sleep Duration and Quality Among Women Aged 40–59, By Menopausal Status the Key Finding were:

  • “Among those aged 40–59, perimenopausal women (56.0%) were more likely than postmenopausal (40.5%) and premenopausal (32.5%) women to sleep less than 7 hours, on average, in a 24-hour period
  • Postmenopausal women aged 40–59 were more likely than premenopausal women aged 40–59 to have trouble falling asleep (27.1% compared with 16.8%, respectively), and staying asleep (35.9% compared with 23.7%), four times or more in the past week
  • Postmenopausal women aged 40–59 (55.1%) were more likely than premenopausal women aged 40–59 (47.0%) to not wake up feeling well rested 4 days or more in the past week”.8

Other Factors

Apart from menopause, what other factors may cause sleep disturbance?

In Menopause FAQ: Menopause Symptoms – A. Q. I’m having trouble sleeping, and I’m tired all the time. Is this because of menopause? the North American Menopause Society (NAMS) elaborate on:

“A. Some women report sleep disturbances (insomnia) around the time of menopause, and women and their healthcare providers sometimes attribute sleep disturbances to menopause. However, there are many reasons for sleep disturbances besides night sweats (simply, hot flashes at night)”.9

The NAMS also explain:

“Your sleep disturbances may be caused by factors that affect many women beginning at midlife, such as sleep-disordered breathing (known as sleep apnea), restless legs syndrome, stress, anxiety, depression, painful chronic illnesses, and even some medications”.10

In Sleep Disturbance and the Menopause: Contributing Factors the AMS note:

  • “These include:
    • Changing hormone levels (hormones playing a role in sleep include growth hormone, prolactin, cortisol and melatonin)
    • Vasomotor symptoms (sweating and palpitations), mood disorders (depression and anxiety)
    • Abnormalities of the circadian rhythm
    • Co-morbid conditions (snoring, airway obstruction, restless legs syndrome, periodic limb movement disorder, musculoskeletal pain and fibromyalgia)
    • Exacerbation of primary insomnia
    • Increased risk of developing primary insomnia
    • Lifestyle factors (poor sleep hygiene, irregular schedules, caffeine, alcohol, snoring partner)”.11

Insomnia

What is insomnia?

DotS the definition of insomnia may vary. In Insomnia: What Is the NHLBI’s definition is:

“Insomnia is a common sleep disorder. With insomnia, you may have trouble falling asleep, staying asleep, or getting good quality sleep. This happens even though you have the time and the right environment to sleep well. Insomnia interferes with your daily activities, and may make you feel unrested or sleepy during the day”.12

Is there an association between menopause and insomnia?

The AMS explain:

  • “It has been noted that insomnia is more common in women than in men, with 25% of women between the ages of 50- and 64-years having sleep difficulties. Sleep difficulties are more common in post-menopausal than in pre-menopausal women, and more severe in those experiencing a surgical menopause”.13

In Menopause Management: Healthy Living – Sleeping Well the JH also note:

“Sleep problems can occur at midlife and during times of hormonal change like menopause. These include problems such as insomnia, where you find it difficult to go to sleep and stay asleep. Twice as many women experience insomnia compared with men.Sleep

Menopausal symptoms, particularly hot flushes and night sweats, can disturb sleep and set off insomnia. The night sweats might change your usual pattern of sleep and your body learns this new pattern, so the broken sleep pattern becomes the new norm”.14

Sleep Apnea

What is sleep apnea?

DotS the definition of sleep apnea may vary. In Sleep Apnea the NHLBI’s definition is:

“Sleep apnea is a common condition in the United States. It can occur when the upper airway becomes blocked repeatedly during sleep, reducing or completely stopping airflow. This is known as obstructive sleep apnea. If the brain does not send the signals needed to breathe, the condition may be called central sleep apnea”.15

Restless Legs Syndrome

What is Restless Legs Syndrome (RLS)?

In Symptoms & Diagnosis: How Do I Know If I Have RLS? the (United States) Restless Legs Syndrome Foundation elaborate on:

“RLS is perhaps the most common condition you have never heard of, affecting more people than even type 2 diabetes. Up to 7-8% of the population has this neurological condition with 2–3% experiencing severe symptoms that affect their quality of life and require pharmaceutical treatment to manage their symptoms”.16

SleepWhere may I find a RLS Symptom Diary?

In Symptoms & Diagnosis: RLS Symptom Diary you may find the RLS Symptom Diary.

Alcohol

Is there an association between alcohol and insufficient sleep?

The (United States) Mayo Clinic explain:

“Alcohol depresses the central nervous system and acts as a sedative. It may help you fall asleep, but it prevents deeper stages of sleep and often causes you to wake up in the middle of the night. If you have trouble falling or staying asleep, say no thanks to the after-dinner drinks”.17

In Alcohol and Sleep: Tips for a Good Night’s Sleep one of the (United Kingdom) Drinkaware.co.uk’s tips is:

  • “Stay away from caffeine and alcohol late in the evening. Try a hot, milky or herbal drink instead”.18

Treatments

What are some sleep treatments?

According to the NAMS:

“Any treatment should first focus on improving your sleep routine—use regular hours to sleep each night, avoid getting too warm while sleeping, avoid stimulants such as caffeine and dark chocolate”.19

On page fourteen in Women & Sleep: A Guide for Better Sleep – What Is the Role of Menopause In Sleep Disturbances In Midlife Women? the Society for Women’s Health Research Interdisciplinary Network on Sleep elaborate on:

  • “Sleep difficulties in midlife women are often caused by hot flashes. Strategies to treat sleep disruptions should consider this unique instigating factor”.20

In Menopause and Sleep Problems the NAMS elaborate on Lifestyle Changes and Treatments.

Sleeping Pills

Are sleeping pills a short-term solution?

The JH note:

“Sleep medications (e.g. benzodiazepines or stilnox) may be prescribed for short-term use. However, these medications may cause you to become too dependent on them so they should be taken with care. Speak to your doctor for more information”.21

Concern or Not

Is insufficient sleep a concern?

In Sleep and Sleep Disorders the (United States) Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) explain:

“A third of US adults report that they usually get less than the recommended amount of sleep. Not getting enough sleep is linked with many chronic diseases and conditions—such as type 2 diabetes, heart disease, obesity, and depression—that threaten our nation’s health. Not getting enough sleep can lead to motor vehicle crashes and mistakes at work, which cause a lot of injury and disability each year. Getting enough sleep is not a luxury—it is something people need for good health. Sleep disorders can also increase a person’s risk of health problems. However, these disorders can be diagnosed and treated, bringing relief to those who suffer from them”.22

According to information quoted by the AMS:

“Sleep duration of less than seven hours a night has been associated with increased mortality, as well as linked to cardiovascular disease, obesity, mood disorders and diabetes”.23

Health Care Provider

What if insufficient sleep is making me tired, irritable or moody?

If insufficient sleep is making you tired, irritable or moody it may be in your best interest to choose to talk to your health care provider about this. The NAMS encourage us to seek help explaining:

“When lifestyle changes fail to alleviate sleep disturbances, your clinician may want to refer you to a sleep center to rule out sleep-related disorders before initiating prescription treatment. If your sleep disturbance is related solely to hot flashes, hormone therapy may help”.24

Health Topics A-Z

Where may I find Health Topics related to Sleep?

In Health Topics A-Z you may find:

Links

Where may I find Links related to Sleep?

Your Country may have Links similar to:

Sources

Where may I find the Sources quoted?

You may find the Sources quoted at:

Sources

  1. Menopause Management: Healthy Living – Sleeping Well. Last Updated: 30 July 2020 | Last Reviewed: 17 December 2017. Jean Hailes for Women’s Health https://jeanhailes.org.au/health-a-z/menopause/menopause-management Accessed: 12 August 2020
  2. Brain Basics: Understanding Sleep – How Much Sleep Do We Need? Date Last Modified: 13 August 2019. National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke https://www.ninds.nih.gov/Disorders/Patient-Caregiver-Education/Understanding-Sleep#4 Accessed: 12 August 2020
  3. Sleep Disturbance and the Menopause. Content Updated: September 2018. Australasian Menopause Society https://www.menopause.org.au/hp/information-sheets/949-sleep-disturbance-and-the-menopause2 Accessed: 12 August 2020
  4. Menopause and Sleep. National Sleep Foundation https://sleepfoundation.org/sleep-topics/menopause-and-sleep Accessed: 12 August 2020
  5. Menopause and Sleep. National Sleep Foundation https://sleepfoundation.org/sleep-topics/menopause-and-sleep Accessed: 12 August 2020
  6. Sleep Disturbance and the Menopause. Content Updated: September 2018. Australasian Menopause Society https://www.menopause.org.au/hp/information-sheets/949-sleep-disturbance-and-the-menopause2 Accessed: 12 August 2020
  7. Sleep & Fatigue: Sleep Problems for Women In Midlife & Menopause. Last Updated: 31 January 2020 | Last Reviewed: 17 February 2014. Jean Hailes for Women’s Health https://jeanhailes.org.au/health-a-z/healthy-living/sleep-and-fatigue Accessed: 12 August 2020
  8. Menopause FAQ: Menopause Symptoms – Q. I’m having trouble sleeping, and I’m tired all the time. Is this because of menopause? North American Menopause Society https://www.menopause.org/for-women/menopause-faqs-menopause-symptoms Accessed: 12 August 2020
  9. Menopause FAQ: Menopause Symptoms – Q. I’m having trouble sleeping, and I’m tired all the time. Is this because of menopause? North American Menopause Society https://www.menopause.org/for-women/menopause-faqs-menopause-symptoms Accessed: 12 August 2020
  10. Vahratian, A. Sleep Duration and Quality Among Women Aged 40–59, By Menopausal Status: Key Findings. Page Last Reviewed: 07 September 2017. https://www.cdc.gov/nchs/products/databriefs/db286.htm Accessed: 12 August 2020
  11. Sleep Disturbance and the Menopause: Contributing Factors. Content Updated: September 2018. Australasian Menopause Society https://www.menopause.org.au/hp/information-sheets/949-sleep-disturbance-and-the-menopause2 Accessed: 12 August 2020
  12. Insomnia: What Is. National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute https://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health-topics/insomnia Accessed: 12 August 2020
  13. Sleep Disturbance and the Menopause. Contributing Factors. Content Updated: September 2018. Australasian Menopause Society https://www.menopause.org.au/hp/information-sheets/949-sleep-disturbance-and-the-menopause2 Accessed: 12 August 2020
  14. Menopause Management: Healthy Living – Sleeping Well. Last Updated: 30 July 2020 | Last Reviewed: 17 December 2017. Jean Hailes for Women’s Health https://jeanhailes.org.au/health-a-z/menopause/menopause-management Accessed: 12 August 2020
  15. Sleep Apnea. National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute https://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health-topics/sleep-apnea Accessed: 12 August 2020
  16. Symptoms & Diagnosis: How Do I Know If I Have RLS? Restless Legs Syndrome Foundation https://www.rls.org/understanding-rls/symptoms-diagnosis Accessed: 12 August 2020
  17. Skip Booze for Better Sleep. 09 November 2018. Mayo Clinic https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/insomnia/in-depth/health-tip/art-20048824 Accessed: 12 August 2020
  18. Alcohol and Sleep: Tips for A Good Night’s Sleep. Drinkaware.co.uk https://www.drinkaware.co.uk/check-the-facts/health-effects-of-alcohol/effects-on-the-body/alcohol-and-sleep Accessed: 12 August 2020
  19. Menopause FAQ: Menopause Symptoms – Q. I’m having trouble sleeping, and I’m tired all the time. Is this because of menopause? North American Menopause Society https://www.menopause.org/for-women/menopause-faqs-menopause-symptoms Accessed: 12 August 2020
  20. Society for Women’s Health Research Interdisciplinary Network on Sleep. Women & Sleep: A Guide for Better Sleep – 07. What Is the Role of Menopause In Sleep Disturbances In Midlife Women? 2017: 14. https://swhr.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/11/SWHR_Women-Sleep-Guide.pdf Accessed: 12 August 2020
  21. Sleep & Fatigue: Managing Sleep Problems – Medications for Sleep Disturbance. Last Updated: 31 January 2020 | Last Reviewed: 17 February 2014. Jean Hailes for Women’s Health https://jeanhailes.org.au/health-a-z/healthy-living/sleep-and-fatigue Accessed: 12 August 2020
  22. Sleep and Sleep Disorders. Page Last Reviewed: 15 April 2020. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention https://www.cdc.gov/sleep/index.html Accessed: 12 August 2020
  23. Sleep Disturbance and the Menopause. Content Updated: September 2018. Australasian Menopause Society https://www.menopause.org.au/hp/information-sheets/949-sleep-disturbance-and-the-menopause2 Accessed: 12 August 2020
  24. Menopause FAQ: Menopause Symptoms – Q. I’m having trouble sleeping, and I’m tired all the time. Is this because of menopause? North American Menopause Society https://www.menopause.org/for-women/menopause-faqs-menopause-symptoms Accessed: 12 August 2020

Topic Last Updated: 15 August 2020 – Topic Last Reviewed: 12 August 2020
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