Menopause sleep disorders are any ailment in the normal sleep patterns of a person. If sleep disorders reach a severe intensity, they can severely affect your mental and emotional function. Insomnia is the most frequent complaint, occurring in up to 56% of menopausal women. Some women may develop restless legs syndrome, snoring, or sleep apnea (gasping breath during sleep).
When women go through menopause, sleep is less restful. Also, women start waking up a lot at night, tossing and turning, and generally disturbed by insomnia. Typically, the frequency of insomnia doubles from the amount you had before you entered menopause. And research also indicates that women begin to experience restless sleep as many as five to seven years before entering menopause.
Many women report sleep disorders during menopause, which can be caused by a variety of problems, such as uncomfortable menopausal symptoms like night sweats.
There are many causes for Menopause Sleep Disorders during menopause, but it is generally accepted that the main reason for this is the declining level of estrogen hormones, which causes hormonal imbalance. As a result, this produces several changes not only in body functioning but also in mental health.
The causes for menopause sleep disorders can be divided into psychological and physical. Psychological aren't as common as physical; in fact, it's normally accepted that physical causes are responsible for menopause sleep disorders in most women.
Psychological causes for menopause sleep disorders
Emotional daily stress, overwork and fatigue can cause menopause sleep disorders. When these factors combine and get out of control, emotional stability is spoiled. Therefore, these could unbalance your body functioning, producing alterations in metabolism that will lead to menopause sleep disorders. Usually these cases are temporary and menopause sleep disorders stops when the stressful time ends.
Physical causes for menopause sleep disorders
Menopause sleep disorders are mostly caused by unbalanced hormone levels. Estrogen declination causes a variety of physical side effects including a reduction in serotonin (chemical in the brain), which is used to create melatonin (sleep hormone). Without a balanced level of estrogen, the body is not able to produce the right amount of neither serotonin nor melatonin. This is why maintaining a balanced estrogen level is important to control and avoid menopause sleep disorders.
Sleep Disorders is just an indicator of the declination of estrogen hormones that menopause produces. These changes result in a hormonal imbalance in a woman's body and cause Sleep Disorders. Therefore, the best and most effective way to treat Sleep Disorders is to control its main cause by balancing hormonal levels.
Three approaches for the treatment of Sleep Disorders
There are three levels of treatments of Sleep Disorders:
- (1) Lifestyle Changes,
- (2) Alternative Medicine and
- (3) Drugs and Surgery.
You should always start with the least risky approach (lifestyle changes) and go on to riskier approaches (surgery/drugs) only if necessary.
The first level involves no risk but may be the hardest way to go. You'll have to change many habits of your daily life. So if you are considering this approach, you will need a strong mind and a positive thinking for managing these changes.
Nonetheless, techniques for stress reduction (e.g. yoga), a diet rich in estrogenic food (soy, alfalfa, cherries, rice, wheat and yams) or even becoming more fit by doing regular exercises, will have positive effects on the treatment of Sleep Disorders.
It's not easy to follow up this approach, that's why you might want to consider the next level of treatment, because alternative medicine is an excellent treatment for Sleep Disorders.
Alternative approaches involve little or no risk and can be considered as the safest way to treat Sleep Disorders. In this level of approach, Herbal remedies are the most effective option.
There are basically two types of herbs to treat Sleep Disorders during menopause: phytoestrogen and non-estrogenic herbs. Phytoestrogen herbs (e.g. Black Cohosh, Dong Quai) contain plant estrogens. Therefore, these herbs replace the missing estrogen; unfortunately, phytoestrogen herbs produce several side effects (like breast cancer, heart attacks and strokes) as a result from adding hormones from outside.
Unlike phytoestrogen herbs, non-estrogenic herbs don't contain any estrogen. Instead, non-estrogenic herbs nourish your hormonal glands for healthy production of your own natural hormones. This ultimately ends up in balancing overall hormones levels. Due to this, non-estrogenic herbs, like Macafem, can be considered as the safest way of natural treatment for Sleep Disorders.
Nature & Health magazine. Dr. Chacon says:
A combination of approaches is a good route to take. Lifestyle changes combined with alternative medicine will probably take care of Sleep Disorders during menopause in a more efficiently way.
Drugs and Surgery
Interventions at level 3 involve the highest risk and often the highest costs. The most common drug therapy for the treatment of Sleep Disorders in the US is hormone replacement therapy (HRT). There's no doubt that this is the quickest and strongest way to combat hormonal imbalance; unfortunately, it entails serious side effects and increases the risk of different cancer types among women.
If you still consider following this approach, take a visit to your physician, and get informed about what this treatment option involves.
Remember that these three levels of approaches are not mutually exclusive. You can use different approaches at different times or combine several at the same time. Nowadays more and more women think that the best treatment for Sleep Disorders during menopause is accomplished via a combination of healthy lifestyle and alternative treatments.