Peri- and post-menopausal women frequently complain of insomnia or poor sleep quality. Sleep disturbance is often attributed to nocturnal hot flashes; however, a recent study from researchers at Wayne State University School of Medicine suggests that about half of these women may have a primary sleep disorder.
In this study, 102 women (ages 44 to 56 years) reporting disrupted sleep were recruited through newspaper advertisements. They were assessed with the Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index and the Hamilton Anxiety and Depression Rating Scales and completed one night of polysomnography in a controlled laboratory setting.
53% of the women were found to have a primary sleep disorder (sleep apnea, restless legs syndrome, or both). The best predictors of objective sleep quality (laboratory sleep efficiency) were apneas, periodic limb movements, and brief arousals. The best predictors of subjective sleep quality (as measured by the Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index global score) were the Hamilton anxiety score and the number of hot flashes in the first half of the night.
These findings suggest that while nocturnal hot flushes may be the cause of sleep disruption in many peri- and postmenopausal women, many of these women have an underlying primary sleep disorder, like restless leg syndrome or sleep apnea. Thus interventions that are intended to reduce the frequency and severity of hot flushes may not be fully effective for a significant number of women. The authors recommend that for peri- and postmenopausal women presenting with sleep problems, clinicians must take a comprehensive sleep history to rule out a primary sleep disorder and, if necessary, obtain polysomnography to confirm the diagnosis.
Ruta Nonacs, MD PhD
Freedman RR and Roehrs TA. Sleep disturbance in menopause. Menopause 2007; 14:826-9.
I have (once again) been up since 4am. I am going thru surgically induced menopause since May. I have never had sleeping problems. Since the hysterectomy, I wake up sweating every night. I sleep with the air conditioner and a fan on me. I have not had a full night sleep since the surgery on May 9th. I have even tried to take the sleeping pill Ambien (no relief)….. I am exhausted!!!
i m passing thru the menopause phase of my life now. i ve never had any problem with sleep but now i hadly sleep well alnight long. even when i fall sleep, i wake up sweating all over and having hot flashes.i am 47years old
I can relate. I am experiencing hot flashes on a regular basis to the point that I can barely wear a winter coat! I am a mess because I am missing so many of hours of sleep per week due to terrible sleep patterns. I have taken Ambien and sometimes I will get a pretty decent nights sleep, other times, no. I am going to see my doc as I cannot function with half a brain like this any longer!
I know you posted in August and I hope you have resolved this by now! good luck.
I have just started with hot flashes and am sick of night after night having to throw covers off when I wake up covered in perspiration. How can anyone say that when you go into the menopausal stage of life that the hot flashes and sleepless nights could be another underlying problem when the majority of women only start with this when menopause occurs.What I would like to find out is if there is some natural remedy that has been found to help eleviate these problem without having to consider HRT or anti-depressants which can often have other side effects. I am 50 years old and am dreading the thought of the months or even years of the effects and symptoms of the menopause!
@Dawn W, I also am in surgically induced menopause and have only had two full nights sleep in 2 and 1/2 months. I do not have hot flashes or night sweats though, my mind just never relaxes and my legs are constantly moving. I am looking for any natural remedies women have found to work??
I am 62 years old now, and my doctor has informed me i am most likely out of the menopause and post-menopausal in fact. But i still get bad sleep problems some nights. I can’t sleep it doesn’t matter how I try. I recently found a book from the library which also came with a DVD and after I had read it, I purchased a copy of the book and I listen to the DVD every night and that helps to get me to sleep and relax much better.
Problem is some mornings I wake up so tired and don’t want to get out of bed. I try to keep fit. I swim, do aqua aerobics at my local pool, and I walk every day to and from my local shops which is about 15 minutes each way.
Some of the women who have made comments on this site seem to be having a difficult time of it all. After reading some of the comments I think that my experience hasn’t been that bad. I can see why many of these women can’t wait to be out of the menopause. It can be very hard to ajust to it all.
I am 45 years old and although the night sweats and hot flashes of my menopause are awful, I have been experiencing increased dreaming and some of the strangest dreams and nightmares of my life. This usually only occurs during my menstrual cycle in the last 4-6 months, in the last two months I have been blessed with 2 cycles a month ie, every two weeks. My cycle usually begins with a bought of insomnia followed by a night of what seem to me to be awake dreams, I do not feel like I am sleeping and the dreams are extremly vivid. How is anyone supposed to keep up with their normal routine while experiencing such extreme symptoms twice a month? I was wondering if anyone is studying any types of dream disorders with menopause as I would love to make sense of this. My mother also experienced very restless and nightmare filled nights during menopause but was also going through a divorce at the time so we did not associate her nightmares with her menopause.
There is some interesting data which suggests that omega-3 fatty acids help women with menopausal symptoms, including depression and hot flashes. These studies, however, did not look at sleep.
I have had success with eating 2 tablespoons a day of hemp hearts(outer shell removed from hemp seeds).It is the most balanced omega 3 to omega 6.Hot flashes are almost gone completely and I am sleeping better. Regular exercise has also improved sleep.
I’m 43. I’ve been having the hot flashes and the sleepless nights for the last 10 years or so. My period has NEVER been normal, I even had it while pregnant. I have only one ovary since 1992. I wonder if that has anything to do with it. I totally know what all the women that posted are going through. I get really mean because I can’t sleep. They just started me on Celexa for the night sweats. I pray it works. Good luck to you all.
I am 64 years old and have severe insomnia. I’ve had it for about 10 years. I never had night sweats or any bad postmenopausal symptoms. Ihave taken every prescription pill on the market and every natural remedy. My doctor refuses to evaluate my hormones. I personally think that they are the problem. I need help but can’t find anyone to help me. Do you have any suggestions. Would be very greatful for any advice. I can’t fall asleep nor stay asleep even with taking sleep meds such as Restoril. Could it also be my cortisol level because as the day goes on I get more and more alert so that by the time nighttime comes around I’m TOTALLY awake and can’t sleep. Does anyone have any help for me. Thank You!