Many women find their sleep changes during menopause. The hormonal changes that come with menopause can change both the quantity and the quality of your sleep. Here we explain why that happens, and share some tips for getting more sleep.
Hormonal changes that occur during menopause can have a big impact on both your quality and quantity of rest because they trigger changes in our body temperature. The swings in hormone levels, particularly oestrogen, can trigger hot flushes and night sweats for many women. This is also why these are two of the most common stymptoms experienced amongst menopausal women.
Waking up in a pool of sweat can really disrupt your sleep for the whole night. After a night sweat, women often can't get back to sleep easily. As anyone with kids will know, things which wake you up in the middle of the night can cause major tiredness and basically disrupt the whole next day.
The hormone oestrogen promotes good sleep - it helps the body use the serotonin and other sleep promoting chemicals. Oestrogen levels fall as we approach, during, and pass through menopause - meaning that at this time we're more likely to struggle with sleep.
The hormone progesterone is also helpful for sleep as it increases the production of a neurotransmitter called GABA. GABA enables our body and mind to realx - helping with sleep. Like most of our hormones, progesterone also falls during menopause - making our ability to have a good nights sleep that much harder.
No! Many many things that happen during midlife can cause stress. Stress can be a huge sleep disturber! This is because it can be VERY hard to switch your brain off when you are experiencing high stress.
Life is busy - You may find that during your perimenopause/menopause things don't just slow down. Jobs, kids, friends, partners, ageing parents... This can lead to a huge amount of stress. Taking steps to manage all of this stress can help to improve your sleep too. Even just small changes, such as practicing mindfullness or Cognitive Behavioural Therapy, may help you relax a bit more.
There are a lot of tips on how to help with sleep, but not all them are evidence based. Here’s a few we’ve selected from research: