Insomnia, Night Sweats, and Menopause
Difficulty sleeping (insomnia) is often experienced around menopause. This is particularly the case if the insomnia is trigger by hot flashes that occur during sleep. These are called night sweats. Many women report waking up soaked, cold, and shivering after having a hot flash during sleep.
If your sleep disturbances are a result of night sweats, treating the underlying hot flash may be your best course of action.
Otherwise, treatment is similar to general insomnia:
- Examine lifestyle choices – The first step should be to address lifestyle choices that could be affecting your sleep. Avoid heavy meals in the evening. Additionally, consider avoiding alcohol, caffeine, and nicotine throughout the entire day. Lastly, daily exercise has been shown to help ease insomnia (as long as its not too close to bed time).
- Maintain a sleep-conducive environment – It’s important to make your bedroom as conducive to sleep as possible. This means making sure it’s quiet, dark, and the appropriate temperature (cooler is better).
- Improve sleep routine – Be disciplined and maintain a consistent sleep schedule that allows for a full night’s rest (6 to 9 hours for most people). Additionally, if you do not fall asleep within 15 minutes of going to bed, you should leave the bedroom and engage in relaxing activities elsewhere and return when you are drowsy. The bedroom should only be used for sleep or sexual activities.
- Medial Treatment – If all of the above lifestyle changes do not alleviate your insomnia, you should seek the advice of a health care professional. Your doctor will be able to diagnose your situation and see if you are suffering from conditions that can trigger insomnia such as: thyroid abnormalities, allergies, anemia, restless leg syndrome, depression, or sleep apnea.