Menopause is a period of significant hormonal, physical and emotional changes in a woman’s life.
Women commonly associate menopause with the decrease in the female hormones, estrogen and progesterone; however, melatonin, a hormone in our brains that helps regulate our sleep-wake cycles, also decreases during this stage of life.
Not only do the hormone fluctuations affect our brain’s ability to regulate sleep cycles, but the physical symptoms often caused by these fluctuations, such as hot flashes, night sweats and changes in urinary function, can also disturb sleep throughout the night.
When the body’s proper sleep cycles are disrupted on a consistent basis, actual sleep disorders can begin to develop, such as insomnia.
Certain lifestyle modifications can help women battle sleep deprivation during menopause, such as regular exercise, avoiding caffeine and/or nicotine, wearing light clothing at night and sleeping beside or under a fan.
However, if you begin noticing signs of an actual sleep disorder, such as snoring, decline in function and focus during the day and consistent fatigue, it is important to talk to your primary care physician, as you may benefit from referral to a sleep study.
Annie Penn Sleep Disorders Center and Cone Health Sleep Disorders Center (next to Wesley Long Hospital) both offer home and in-lab sleep studies.
Leading the studies is an exceptional team of board-certified sleep medicine specialists, sleep technologists and respiratory therapists and state-of-the art sleep monitoring equipment.
Christy Hall is the manager of Annie Penn Sleep Center and Respiratory Therapy and has been a respiratory therapist for twenty-five years.
She is a graduate of J. Sargeant Community College with a degree in respiratory therapy.