Insomnia Makes Perimenopause and Menopause a Bad Dream

Lower estrogen and progesterone levels can lead to poor sleep quality and sleep disturbances.

Good Sleep Defined

Before we can discuss poor sleep we must determine what constitutes good sleep.

Johns Hopkins Medicine defines good sleep at seven to eight hours of restful, uninterrupted sleep.

Insomnia Defined

Insomnia is the inability to get enough sleep or a good quality sleep.

There are two main kinds of insomnia.

Some people have both kinds.

One kind makes it hard to fall asleep in the first place.

People with this kind of insomnia don’t feel tired when it’s time to go to sleep.

Or they do feel tired, but toss and turn, and cannot fall asleep.

The other kind makes it hard to stay asleep.

People with this kind of insomnia fall asleep quickly.

Then after a few hours, they wake up and can’t get back to sleep.

Some people think this can be normal, because it used to be common to be awake for a few hours in the middle of the night.

Researchers call this “bi-phasic sleep” since it includes sleeping in two separate chunks.

In our modern world, this can be a problem because many people need to wake up early to go to work.

This means the total number of sleeping hours is often not enough.

Impact of Sleep Deprivation

Sleep deprivation has ramifications in all aspects of life.

Sleep deprivation can

  • make you irritated or depressed,
  • cause you to forget things more easily than usual, and
  • lead to more falls or accidents.

Hot flashes may be triggered by waking up from sleep, rather than the other way around, according to new research.

Tracking your sleep on the mySysters’ symptom tracker helps you identify sleep disruptions and other factors that can influence sleep quality.

After a few weeks the patterns that appear in myCalendar can help you identify the habits behind sleeping problems.

If you need to see a healthcare provider, a mySysters’ printout is more reliable than a general recollection about sleep habits.

How to Get A Good Night’s Sleep

Developing appropriate nighttime practices can aid in getting a good night’s sleep.

To improve your sleep:

  • Go outside often. Having bright indoor lights during the day can also work.

  • Follow a regular sleep schedule. Go to sleep and get up at the same time each day.
  • Find ways to lower stress. When the stress hormone (cortisol) is high, it keeps the sleep hormone (melatonin) low.
  • Avoid napping in the late afternoon or evening if you can. It may keep you awake at night.
  • Develop a bedtime routine.
  • Try not to watch television or use your computer or mobile device in the bedroom. The light from these devices may make it difficult for you to fall asleep.
  • Use your bed only for sleep and sex. Do not do work or other stressful activities in your bed or bedroom.
  • Keep your bedroom at a comfortable temperature, not too hot or too cold, and as quiet as possible.
  • Exercise at a regular time each day but not close to bedtime.
  • Don’t eat large meals close to bedtime.
  • Avoid caffeine, especially late in the day.
  • Avoid alcohol as well. Even a small amount makes it more difficult to stay asleep.
  • Keep your feet and hands warm overnight. Wear warm socks and/or mittens or gloves to bed if you need to.
  • Turn any clocks around so you can’t see them. Some people get anxious if they can see clocks from the bed, which can make it harder to fall asleep.

Just as there are things you can do to set yourself for sleep success, there are things you might want to avoid.

Substances that may make it more difficult to sleep:

  • Alcohol
  • Caffeine (including coffee, green/black tea, energy drinks)
  • Ginseng
  • Nicotine
  • Tobacco
  • Weight loss supplements (Ma huang/ephedra, bitter orange)

Medications that may interfere with sleep:

  • Amphetamines (methylphenidate, dextroamphetamine)
  • Antidepressants
  • Asthma “rescue” inhalers (albuterol)
  • Beta Blockers (atenolol, bisoprolol, carvedilol, labetalol, metoprolol, propranolol)
  • Decongestants (phenylephrine, ephedrine)
  • Diuretics (furosemide, torsemide, bumetanide, metolazone, chlorthalidone, hydrochlorothiazide, spironolactone, triamterene) Histamine blockers (ranitidine, famotidine) and antihistamines (loratadine, fexofenadine, cetirizine)
  • Steroids (prednisone, prednisolone, betamethasone, cortisone, dexamethasone, fluticasone, mometasone)
  • Some thyroid replacement medicines (liothyronine, natural and other thyroid supplements containing T3/tri-iodothyronine)

To find the best solution to your menopause insomnia, use the symptom tracker on mySysters.

mySysters is an app for women in perimenopause and menopause.

Good Housekeeping and Woman’s Day named mySysters the Best App for Women in Perimenopause and a Must Have App for Women.

The preceding information does not constitute medical advice or treatment.