Is progesterone related with sleeping disturbances during menopause?

In a recent research, health investigators attempt to figure out if menstrual cycle and declination of hormonal levels during menopause transition are related with sleeping problems. To achieve this, the investigators studied a group of women (43 to 53 years old) reported if they experience sleeping problems. By doing this, they will determine if menopause process can really affect sleeping quality in some way. 

Hormones can disturb regular sleep

The health investigators also monitored the levels of luteinizing hormone (LH), a hormone in charge of controlling several processes within women reproduction, including follicle-stimulation and it's closely related with keeping progesterone hormones in balanced. Therefore, they contrasted if the fluctuation of LH hormone can disturb the usual sleeping behavior within the group of women participating in the study.

Lack of progesterone increases sleeping problems

As far as we know, the natural process of menopause consists of a series of changes produced by the fluctuation of estrogen hormones. In fact, the declination of the amounts of this hormone produces a chain effect which includes a flux in LH and progesterone hormones. The imbalance of hormones produces several symptoms like hot flashes, anxiety and fatigue, which may contribute in disrupting normal sleep. 

The women were grouped in two: perimenopausal women (still have menstruations) and postmenopausal (do not have menstruations for more than twelve months). 

The group of women who reported the most sleeping problems was the first one, who are starting the transition from perimenopause to postmenopause. In fact, women of Caucasian ethnicity showed a higher susceptibility to vasomotor symptoms like hot flashes and psychosocial symptoms like stress and depression. This ends up in a lower quality of life less triggered by low physical activity, smoking, and frequent cases of arthritis.

Most reported sleeping disturbances reported by the women participating in the study include an increased latency to sleep onset, frequent nighttime awakenings, more fragmentation of sleep, increased daytime sleepiness and fatigue and Nighttime waking episodes are longer.

Conclusions

The investigation concluded the most trouble sleeping was observed at the beginning and end of the menstrual cycle. But also the women with in postmenopausal stage also showed alterations in sleep. The investigators emphasized that the sleep problems do contribute to fatigue and muscle aches, cognitive dysfunction, anxiety, and depression. 

However, the investigation considered that the sleep problems are closely related with other menopause symptoms, which disturb the regular sleeping habits. Hot flashes, depression and anxiety are the most common attributed causes of disrupting the normal bedtime habits.

The medical researchers also pointed out that a group of these women considered taking Phytoestrogen (estrogen plant substances) supplements because they may have some mitigating effects on hot flashes. Among, these the most used are products based on soy because they are rich in phytoestrogens. Phytoestrogens are also available in over-the-counter nutritional supplements like ginseng, extract of red clover, and black cohosh.