- Personal Health Information & Self-Help
Insomnia: Why Women Can’t Sleep?
Insommia: Why Women Can't Sleep will disclose some of the underlying, sometime silent problems women are unaware of that is causing them to miss out on a good night's sleep. Nearly 50 percent of all American women over age 35 complain that they do not get a full good night’s sleep.
According to Dr. Mehmet Oz sleep problems get’s worst for
women as they age. Many of us blame it
on stress and other daily activities; however the culprits most likely robbing
you of sleep are one's diet, established bad sleeping habits, and or hormonal changes. And men while this hub is focused mainly on women your bodies will react to some of these sleep robbers as well. So please continue to read on...
Sleeping Poll for Females
Most Days, do You Feel Tired or Foggy?
Do You Experience Frequent Mood Swings?
Do You Snore Loudly, have Pauses in Breathing or Wake Up Gasping?
Most women in their 20’s and early 30’s never have sleep problems; but as they approach the age of the mid 30’s to 40’s (the time of perimenopause and menopause) sleeping habits begin changing. Ovaries start slowing down the production of estrogen and progesterone the hormones that promote sleep.
Dr. Carol Ash, DO, the Medical Director at the Sleep for Life Center in New Jersey states, “There is a biological basis for insomnia and just being female is a risk factor for insomnia. The menstrual cycle and menopause all complicate the normal sleep patterns. And unfortunately, as we age the changes in hormones that causes sleep problems.”
According to Barbara Kantrowitz of Newsweek, millions of women suffer from sleeplessness at different stages throughout their lives. In her article, titled The Quest for Rest released in April ’06 Kantrowitz stated that according to IMS Health, a pharmaceutical information and consulting company reported that there were more than $2 billion in annual sales of sleeping pills. One can only imagine how large this amount has grown since the recent financial crisis.
Results of Dr Oz's Female Audience Poll
Dr Oz asked his audience mostly composed of women three questions that you as readers here might like to answer as well:
49% of the audience answered ‘Yes’ to the question: Most days, do you feel tired or foggy?
43% of the audience answered ‘Yes’ to the question: Do You experience frequent mood swings?
27% of the audience answered ‘Yes’ to the question: Do you snore loudly, have pauses in breathing or wake up grasping?
If you answered 'Yes' to one of these questions your lack of sleep may be tied to one of the three stages of the hormonal cycle.
Kantrowitz also stated, “that today’s current generation of drugs such as Ambien, Lunest, and Rozerem do not have the addictive potential of the older sleep medications, however patients need to follow their doctors’ instructions carefully.” Well rather than go off on a rant here, I’m going to keep moving forward to provide some alternative and natural remedies to those that are missing out on sleep.
I do have to at least ask that you please research and look at the side effects of these drugs prior to resorting to them. And to point out that later in her article, Kantrowitz writes, that sleeping pills won’t resolve the underlying issues of stress, a physical disorder or hormonal changes. O.k. with that being written let’s take a look at some natural ways of getting to sleep at night once you discover which culprit is robbing you of your sleep.
Insomnia: Why Women Can’t Sleep?
1st Hormonal Stage - Perimenopause
The 1st stage of the hormonal cycle is perimenopause that on average occurs between 40 and 55 years of age, but can begin as early as 30 years of age with some individuals. Perimenopause is the ten to fifteen years that occurs prior to menopause. Menopause does not officially occur until the female has had a period for one year after the perimenopausal years. In this stage melatonin or the lack there of is the culprit that plays havoc on our internal body clocks that can cause interruptions of sleep.
Solutions: Add melatonin enriched foods to your diet, i.e. bananas, brown rice, oatmeal and walnuts.
Herbal Remedy - Melatonin supplements can be taken however you must take them correctly which is to take 0.5 mg 2.5 hours prior to going to bed. Melatonin is called a dark hormone because it acts like a blind that suddenly comes down and puts one to sleep. However it will not work 30 minutes before bedtime as I was told to take it. Hence you will still wake up in the morning feeling foggy and sleepy.
The 2nd Hormonal Stage - Menopause
The 2nd stage of the hormonal cycle is menopause that on average occurs between 40 and 55 years of age. Weight, mood changes, skin problems, hair, and etc occur during this stage of the hormonal cycle because of the changes in estrogen and progesterone levels.
Surges in the estrogen in the early hours of the night will make an individual have trouble falling asleep in perimenopause, but during menopause the trouble will be maintaining or staying asleep. During menopause sleep problems may be caused by interrupted by hot flashes, cold sweats, and or frequent urination.
Solutions: It is important to wear light comfortable clothing and focus on a diet of eating low-fat, high-fiber, and plant-based foods that can help with the estrogen levels.
Herbal Remedy - An herbal supplement that can be taken is 40 mg. of black cohosh a day to help reduce the hot flashes.
The 3rd Hormonal Stage - Post-Menopause
The 3rd stage of the hormonal cycle is post-menopause that on average can occur between 45 and 55 years of age or older. Please keep in mind that every woman's body is unique and will go through these changes when nature determines; therefore, that the ages provided are only calculated averages. In this stage hormones are still unbalanced and there can be an additional culprit that causes one to miss out on sleep.
Up to 10% of post-menopausal women have hypothyroidism due to low thyroid hormones that can cause weight gain, sleep apnea, and snoring. When thyroid levels are low the back of the tongue swells causing air ways to be reduces and the gasping and sleep apnea symptoms.
Solutions: Diet and exercise to lose weight and reduce the stress on the neck.
Naturopathy Remedy - Try a pillow that is designed for snoring; it may eliminate the need to visit a doctor for sleep apnea. However, if this does not work one should seek the help of a sleep specialist in order to get a good night’s sleep.
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Insomnia: Why Women Can't Sleep?
Foods to Help You Sleep
Reduce intake of refined sugar that can cause insulin surges at night. It could be what you are drinking that is sabotaging your sleeping pattern. I think this quiz will help individuals to remember the types of foods that one can and should not be having throughout the day that may be the reason for insomnia at nighttime.
Which should you drink before bed? 1) Fruit Drink 2) Wine or 3) Milk
True, warm milk will help you sleep, because it is high in tryptophan. A new study shows that tart cherry juice which is high in melatonin helps one to snooze at night. Researches had individuals to have an 8 oz glass in the morning and an 8 oz glass two hours before bedtime and it helped to reduce insomnia. Red wine although it is very good for you and will put you to sleep; the alcohol may be the culprit that wakes you up later at night. I occasionally have bouts with sleeping not really sure it is hormonal related, however, decided to try the tart cherry juice instead of my normal glass of wine at night. I must admit that the next morning I do feel like I’ve had a deeper more restful night of sleep.
Dinners – Which is better?
1) Spaghetti with ground meat 2) stir fried beef, broccoli and white rice, or 3) turkey burger on whole wheat with spinach leaf.
Turkey Burger on whole wheat with spinach leaf - The iron in spinach helps with restless leg syndrome and turkey is high in tryptophan which not only affects melatonin, but creates serotonin, which helps to stabilize one’s overall sleep. It is better to eating carbohydrates with tryptophan-containing foods to make the calming amino acid more available to the brain.
According to AskDrSears.com, tryptophan is amino acid that the body uses to make serotonin, the neurotransmitter that slows down nerve traffic so your brain can slow down. High Tryptophan rich foods are chicken and eggs, milk and cheese, nuts and seeds. By making more tryptophan available to the brain by eating the right foods will help you become sleepy.
Which is the Best Bedtime Snack?
1) Cheese and whole grain wheat crackers 2) Jello fruit cup or 3) Chocolate
Cheese and wheat crackers because the wheat crackers are better because it has high in complex carbohydrates and the cheese is high in tryptophan in it. Chocolate is not good because it has caffeine in it.
Light snacks of 200 calories or less of mainly carbohydrates with a little protein helps your brain to produce more serotonin, which is known as the “calming hormone,” will make you more apt to go to sleep.
more info from fellow Hubbers
This concludes Insomnia: Why Women Can’t Sleep. I hope you have found some information that can assist you or someone you know to have a better and or healthier lifestyle. Insomnia can be a very complex and unique problem to resolve because there can be so many hidden medical causes. Individuals having minimal problems sleeping the changes suggested in this hub maybe enough to assist you in getting a good night’s sleep.
If you are presently taking sleeping pills over-the-counter drugs try to stop taking them; especially since most should not be taken more than 10 to 14 days at a time. My suggestion is that you make the necessary changes in diet and try the natural and herbal remedies to see if they will work for you. If your sleeping pills are prescribed you should consult with your doctor and or a sleeping specialist first prior to mixing or completely stopping to take the medication.
Disclaimer: This information is solely for informational purposes. IT IS NOT INTENDED TO PROVIDE MEDICAL ADVICE. Before engaging in any complementary medical technique, including the use of natural or herbal remedies, you should do your own research, and then consult your physician before making any changes that might go against present doctor advised instructions.
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