Deal with menopausal stress better, by sleeping more

Menopause also called climacteric, is a stage when a women’s menstrual cycle stops. It is considered to officially occur when a woman misses her 12 consecutive menstrual cycles or periods, and usually takes place between 48-55 years of age.

Reaching this age can be quite stressful for a lot of women, as hormonal imbalances are common and affect a woman’s physical as well as mental health. This period in a woman’s life is often marked by emotional instability in many cases. Because of the stigma that pervades women’s health, the emotional ramifications of menopause are also barely understood by families, and women are conditioned to not talk about it. This further worsens the state of isolation, anxiety and even depression in some cases.

During menopause, it was reported that approximately 40 - 50% of women have problems with their sleep. Trouble with sleep may or may not be connected to mood disorders, but is more likely to result in anxiety, stress and other depression-related symptoms. 

In another study, it was found that chronic insomnia increases an individual’s risk of developing mood disorders. Also, lack of sleep is a cause of major depression in approximately 15 to 20 percent of the general population. 

Many people fail to realize the more severe effects of depression. Once in a while everyone experiences the feeling of being sad, however, if the feeling of emptiness, sadness, and hopelessness has become a part of you, you may be suffering from depression. Some other symptoms of depression are: irritability or frustration, anxiety, restlessness, feeling of worthlessness, changes in appetite, trouble concentrating, sleeping too much or too little, lack of energy and lapses in memory. 

Sleep disturbances in menopausal women have been associated with drastic decrease in estrogen levels. In a study, it was suggested that due to high LH levels during late menopause, it produces poor sleep quality through a thermos-regulatory mechanism that results in high core body temperature. 

It is still unclear whether the trouble in sleeping is connected with the age-related changes in sleeping patterns, or other indicators of menopause; however, Medical Research Council National Survey of Health reported that severe sleep difficulty was experienced by women who were transitioning to menopause than premenopausal women. 

Rates of sleep apnea are shown to increase with the age, increasing from 6.5% in women in the age group 30-39 years to 16% in the age group 50-60 years. Although the pathophysiology isn’t known, theories indicate towards the postmenopausal weight gain or decreased progesterone levels are reasons for stimulated respiration, and other problems which lead to sleep apnea. Besides this, postmenopausal women are said to experience decrease in melatonin level and growth hormones which also have adverse effects on sleep.

One must understand that insomnia is a problem and addressing to this issue can make a difference in our lives. Studies have shown that people are with better sleep have better mood and their quality of life too, improves. Everyone should inculcate better sleeping habits, and to do this we must know that the four main factors that affect our quality of sleep is Health, Environment, Attitude and Lifestyle. Improving these factors also improves our performance, our mood, our interpersonal relationships and overall, our health. It is advised that a healthy adult should sleep for an average of between seven to nine hours a night. 

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WHL Staff

The WHL staff comprises a group of ladies out to give you exhaustive, practical health tips and resources.