Beyond the Hot Flash: Perimenopause and Sleep Disorders

Beyond the Hot Flash: Perimenopause and Sleep Disorders

perimenopause and sleep disorders

By Rebecca Mendoza, CNP, NCMP

Insomnia is the inability to fall asleep or stay asleep for very long. When sleep finally comes, it’s often low quality sleep that can leave you feeling tired every morning. Sleep disorders like insomnia are well-recognized symptoms of menopause, but sleep problems can hit well before your period stops, while you’re still in perimenopause. Fortunately, bioidentical hormone therapy can help you get better sleep during this phase of your life.

Sleeping pills are one of the most heavily advertised types of medications. There’s no shortage of TV commercials and magazine ads for pills to help you sleep, stay asleep, and get back to sleep. But if the hormone fluctuations in perimenopause are what’s causing sleep issues, sleeping pills may only mask the problem for a while without addressing the deeper issue. In fact, depending on which symptoms of perimenopause you have, the sleeping pills could be totally ineffective.

The reason sleeping pills might not help is that insomnia during perimenopause can be caused by a cluster of things rather than one. If your sleep quality tended to decline before or during menstruation each month, there’s a good chance that the hormonal fluctuations of perimenopause may affect you in a similar way. But because of the steep drops and occasional spikes of estrogen than are unique to this phase of life, other symptoms like hot flashes, night sweats and anxiety can take their toll on your sleep patterns, too.

Keeping the bedroom cool, having a fan available in case of hot flashes, and managing stress with exercise are good tactics for fighting insomnia during perimenopause. Sticking to a regular bedtime and waking routine can also help. But bioidentical hormone therapy can get at the root cause of all your symptoms and help eliminate the ones that make sleep difficult in the first place. Bioidentical hormones are molecularly identical to those your body produces, and they can even be prescribed in individualized dosages. These compounded hormones are designed to meet your needs to ensure the best treatment of perimenopausal symptoms that cause things like insomnia and anxiety.

Granted, a woman in her 30s or 40s may have trouble sleeping for reasons that have nothing do with hormonal changes. Workplace stress, child-rearing, marriage tensions, aging parents and financial worries can all make these years more stressful, which can lead to sleep problems. But it’s important to figure out if hormones could be playing a part. The younger you are when you reach perimenopause, the more likely a doctor will want to prescribe a sleeping pill instead of considering that hormone replacement therapy could be what you need.

Fortunately, there’s no need to settle for sleeping pills when the problem could be something deeper. A health provider who understands perimenopause and realizes that it can start when a woman is in her 30s will ask questions about all of your symptoms in order to determine whether hormonal changes are the likely culprit. Bioidentical estrogen replacement therapy can help if perimenopause is what’s behind the insomnia. This therapy can reduce or eliminate all the symptoms like hot flashes, night sweats and anxiety so you can get a good night’s rest.

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