Vitality

Menopause: Understanding How Its Different Stages Affect Your Sleep

Menopause is another biological process in women commonly occurring in their 40s or 50s. It marks the end of their menstrual cycle, thus bringing changes to women’s hormonal balance.

Understand the different stages of menopause and its affect on sleep below.

Pre-menopause

While a woman is in her reproductive years and is yet to experience symptoms of menopause, she is technically considered to be in the stage of pre-menopause.

During this phase, hormones that promote sleep such as estrogen and progesterone start to wane. The alteration then causes headaches, cramps, anxiety, low mood and, especially, difficulty in sleeping. 

Scientific findings released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in 2017, which studied women’s sleep activity and sleep quality, found that almost one-third sleep below the average of seven hours nightly.

Nearly 17 percent of pre-menopausal women have trouble sleeping on a regular basis for four or more times weekly, a quarter of them having difficulty staying asleep during the night and nearly 47 percent feeling unrested when they wake up at least four days in a week.

Perimenopause

Perimenopause is the transitional stage. It typically begins when a woman is in her 40s. This period of menopause usually last between three to five years and sometimes prolong up to 10 years.

Menopausal symptoms begin to show throughout perimenopausal stage when levels of hormones namely estrogen, progesterone and testosterone significantly decline.

Symptoms such as hot flashes, night sweats, anxiety and headaches manifest, and those disrupt the sleeping pattern as well as the waking performance.

According to the CDC, sleep problems intensifies during perimenopause.

Now, 56 percent sleep less than seven hours on average at night. Nearly one-quarter have trouble sleeping during their perimenopausal stage. More than 30 percent claim they have trouble staying asleep and wake up feeling exhausted. 

Post-menopause

When a woman has not had her period for 12 consecutive months, she is known to have reached the menopausal stage and beyond this time is the period called post-menopausal.

During this change, progesterone, the hormone that induces sleep, is no longer produced. But when the fluctuation subsides in post-menopause, Estrogen will start to produce again in low quantities.

Menopausal symptoms also ease during this phase. The same way with sleep problems and insomnia, a woman’s sleep quality slowly improves when the hormonal imbalance resolves. 

While some women show improved sleep post-menopause, there are those who don’t since the transition varies from woman to woman.

There are still women who experience sleep difficulties as per CDC report in the post-menopausal stage.

A little over 40 percent of women still struggle with sleeping less than seven hours every night. Insomnia becomes more common with 27.1 percent having problems falling asleep and 35.9 percent having problems staying asleep.

It is during this stage also that 55.1 percent sleep and wake up unrested at least four times a week.

Perimenopause The road to menopause is usually accompanied by physical and emotional changes. Thomas Hafeneth/Unsplash

 

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