Monday 12 January 2015

Menopause Can Affect Sleep Cycle, Reports Marla Ahlgrimm

An expert in women’s health, Marla Ahlgrimm explains how “the change” can affect more than just your reproductive system. Here, Ahlgrimm talks about hormone fluctuations and sleep and how a woman can combat one of the first signs of menopause.

Q: How does menopause affect a woman’s sleep pattern?

Marla Ahlgrimm: A sudden change in the body’s hormone levels, especially estrogen, can make it difficult for a woman to sleep soundly. The main culprits of this sleeplessness are night sweats and hot flashes. This may be temporary or it can turn into chronic insomnia. Sleeplessness often occurs in premenopausal women up to 10 years before menopause and is one of the first indicators that things are beginning to change on the hormone horizon.

Q: What can a woman do to get better sleep?

Marla Ahlgrimm: First, it is important to maintain an environment that is conducive to productive sleep. This includes eliminating distractions in the bedroom and wearing lightweight cotton pajamas. Some women choose to use a sleep aid. These medications, both over-the-counter and prescriptive, may work in the short-term but are not long-term solutions. After about three weeks, their effectiveness is decreased due to a natural tolerance in the body.

Q: What are your thoughts on natural sleep aids?

Marla Ahlgrimm: Melatonin has been popular for many years and is, in fact, produced by the body naturally. Women who have trouble sleeping may benefit from melatonin. But this is not a long-term solution. Sleeplessness due to menopause is a hormonal issue and should be treated as such. Chamomile is another natural sleep aid that is safe and may help calm the body before sleep.

Q: Is hormone replacement therapy an option?

Marla Ahlgrimm: Yes, HRT can help. Hormone replacement therapy involves replacing the body’s waning chemical balance with bio identical hormones. A combination of hormone therapy and self-care may be the best solution for menopause-induced sleep troubles.

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