How menopause affects sleep and aging

How menopause affects sleep and aging

Getting your beauty rest is now more important than ever.

Two recent studies from the University of California – Los Angeles (UCLA) revealed menopause and related insomnia are associated with increased aging and aging-related diseases.

In the menopause study involving over 3,000 women, researchers used a biological clock to study the age of cells from blood and saliva. By comparing the chronological age of a participant to the biological age of the cells, they determined that menopause quickens aging on average by 6 percent.

In a related sleep study with over 2,000 female participants, researchers used the same biological clock and found that insomnia in postmenopausal women increased aging by up to two years.

Women who had an increased biological age reported these common sleep disturbances:

  • restless sleep
  • waking repeatedly at night
  • having difficulty falling asleep
  • waking too early in the morning

Since many women experience insomnia and sleep disturbances as a result of menopause, the combination does not bode well.

The sleep study authors say that despite sleep not typically being included as a pillar of health, research has shown that good quality sleep is as important to health as other factors like diet and exercise.

“Menopause can affect sleep for a variety of reasons,” says Dr. Maja Middleton, an obstetrician and gynecologist with Advocate Condell Medical Center in Libertyville, Ill. “Often it is because of the other symptoms that women experience, such as hot flashes and depression/anxiety, or it can also worsen underlying sleep issues.”

Dr. Middleton recommends that women take sleep hygiene seriously by sticking to a routine sleep schedule and by avoiding electronics before bedtime.

She also says many options exist to treat menopause symptoms including insomnia, and that women should contact their physician for more information if they are concerned.

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  1. Thanks for this article. I’ve talked to my doctor about menopause and sleep disturbances. I used to be a sound sleeper and now find myself often waking up throughout the night. Unfortunately, when I don’t sleep well, I feel tired, and sometimes sleepy, during the day. I’ve found its important to stick to a sleep routine and stay away from caffeine in the evening. Going outside and taking a walk on my lunch hour, or getting a change of scene really helps on days I haven’t slept well.

  2. Severe insomnia was my ONLY menopause symptom. It got bad enough to make me suicidal, literally. That’s when I decided to go on hormone therapy. I started sleeping even better than before menopause. Hormones, despite their bad press, saved my life.

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health enews Staff
health enews Staff

health enews staff is a group of experienced writers from our Advocate Aurora Health sites, which also includes freelance or intern writers.