Postmenopause May Be To Blame For Insomnia & Sleep Disorders, Study Finds

mbg Editorial Assistant By Abby Moore
mbg Editorial Assistant
Abby Moore is an Editorial Assistant at mindbodygreen. She earned a B.A. in Journalism from The University of Texas at Austin and has previously written for Tribeza magazine.
Cropped Photo of a Woman Sitting on a Bed

Image by Guille Faingold / Stocksy

Transitional phases can be challenging, especially menopausal transitions, which can last for several years. During that time, falling and staying asleep often becomes difficult. A new study published in the online journal Menopause discovered that the postmenopausal phase is the most problematic for sleep, compared to perimenopause and menopause.

The Canadian study analyzed the sleep of more than 6,100 women in menopausal transitions (between 45 and 60 years old). Participants reported their sleep quality, duration, and satisfaction, as well as various sleep disorders. 

The news release on the study stated that 40 to 60% of women complain of sleep disorders during perimenopause and postmenopause. These disorders can be onset by hot flashes or other hormonal changes that disrupt the circadian rhythm

Since sleep disorders are commonly associated with getting older, researchers wanted to better understand what role menopause (separate from aging) played in the process. They found that postmenopausal women needed 30 extra minutes to fall asleep and were more likely to endure sleep-onset insomnia and obstructive sleep apnea, compared to women in earlier phases of menopause. 

We already knew aging was linked to lower sleep quality; according to the National Sleep Foundation, 44% of older adults experience one or more symptoms of nighttime insomnia, including difficulty falling asleep. And these sleep issues and disorders can lead to poor physical and mental health, including heart disease, depression, anxiety, and other metabolic diseases. 

Taking seriously the severity of these sleep disorders and better understanding when they are most likely to affect women can encourage better timed and more effective interventions. If you're struggling with sleep because of menopause, try these seven tips from a hormone expert.

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