How To Relieve Menopause Sleep Problems
Menopause is a natural process that happens to every woman, normally between the ages of 45 and 55. It occurs when the ovaries stop producing the hormones estrogen and progesterone leading to the end of monthly menstrual cycle. It means the end of a woman's reproductive years, just as the first menstrual period means the start.
Menopause can cause a variety of uncomfortable symptoms like hot flashes, night sweats, mood changes, etc. One of the most common complaints is also the occurrence of worsening sleep difficulties. According to the National Sleep Foundation, more than 60% of menopausal women suffer from some kind of sleep disorder.
Sleep problems are thought to be associated with hormonal functions. Estrogen declination causes a variety of physical side effects including a decrease in serotonin, which is used to create melatonin (sleep hormone). If sleeping disorders reach a severe intensity, they can severely affect mental and emotional functions. They can lead to problems such as daytime drowsiness, memory disorders, concentration problems, anxiety, fatigue and muscle aches.
Many women and their doctors believe that sleep problems are an inevitable part of menopause, but it is important to know that this condition is very treatable.
Treatment and Self-care
Many options are available for treating sleep problems associated with menopause, including hormone replacement therapy, antidepressants, and alternative therapies.
Up until recently, hormone replacement therapy (HRT) was routinely used to treat menopausal symptoms. However, due to findings of the Women's Health Initiative that its risks outweighed its benefits (increased risk of breast cancer, stroke and heart disease), this once heavily promoted medical solution is no longer recommended.
Several studies done in recent years have also spawned doubt about the effectiveness of antidepressants. Until the safety of antidepressants is confirmed by studies and approved by health agencies, it is wiser to just look for natural and safe remedies.
Many women now realize that drugs are not the only answer. Sometimes, just a few lifestyle and dietary changes can work wonders for both the prevention of major health problems and in managing menopause.
Menopause is a natural occurrence in every woman's life, not a disease marked by estrogen deficiency. So why not treat it naturally without medical intervention.
Here are some tips to help manage menopause and sleep problems associated with it:
- Avoid substances like caffeine, alcohol and nicotine, especially before bedtime
- Choose foods that are low in fat, saturated fat, and cholesterol
- Eat smaller meals, more often
- Make sure you get enough calcium and Vitamin D
- Reduce anxiety and stress by learning relaxation techniques
- Maintain bedtime and waking schedules to promote better sleep routines
- Get some exercise
- Keep cool. Dress in layers so that you can remove clothing when hot flashes come
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Mairead Nesbitt is a Classical and Celtic music performer, most notably as a fiddler and violinist. Mairead is a musician who believes in giving herself fully to the music.
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