Thoughts on Better Aging

Causes and Consequences of Sleep Difficulties During Menopause

November 11th, 2014

Learn why it is important for menopausal women to take sleep difficulties seriously.

Are you having trouble sleeping now that you are in or approaching menopause? This is a common experience for many women, and it can make an already distressing time even more difficult to bear. Fortunately, Renew Woman™ can help tackle the root cause of sleep problems to help you feel rested and also protect you from the ill health effects of sleep deprivation.

Why Menopausal Women Can’t Sleep

Insomnia is a common symptom of menopause. For some women, the situation is exacerbated by specific symptoms that keep them up at night, such as night sweats, anxiety, depression, or sleep apnea. In all cases, the root cause of the problem is hormonal. As women age, the body’s production of estrogen and progesterone—two vital hormones for regulating sleep—begin to decline. This hormonal imbalance quickly causes other issues, such as a lack of serotonin, a sleep-regulating neurotransmitter that can’t be made without estrogen. In some cases, low thyroid or low testosterone may also contribute to sleep problems.

What Happens If You Don’t Improve Your Sleep Quality

It is generally accepted that quality sleep is an essential component of healthy aging. But what many people may not realize is that by denying yourself quality sleep, you are not only inhibiting the body’s natural ability to rest, recover, and optimize performance but also exposing yourself to specific negative outcomes associated with poor or insufficient sleep.

One such problem is declining brain volume. A study from the University of Oxford in the UK found that individuals with poor sleep quality displayed more rapid decline in brain volume (particularly in the frontal, temporal, and parietal areas) than those who had normal sleep. This effect was more pronounced in individuals aged 60 or over, suggesting that good sleep is essential for maintaining brain health as we age. Loss of brain volume has been associated with increased memory problems and even Alzheimer’s.

Another problem is expanding waistlines. One study published in the American Journal of Epidemiology found that individuals who slept 5 hours or less per night were 15 percent more likely to become obese. One explanation is that lack of sleep causes a decline in leptin, a hormone that signals fullness, and an increase in ghrelin, a hormone associated with appetite. Obesity poses many health risks on its own and can further hamper healthy aging efforts.

How Renew Woman™ Can Help

Renew Woman™ can help menopausal women enjoy deep, refreshing sleep and all the health-protective benefits it brings with a variety of treatment options. We test each woman’s hormone levels to determine which imbalances are at the heart of her sleep troubles, and then create a personalized treatment plan to boost those hormones to a healthy level.

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