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Can menopause cause sleep problems?

Patricia Geraghty, NP
Women's Health
Sleep problems are a very common symptom around the time of menopause, experienced by about the same number of women who experience hot flashes and night sweats. Typically women fall asleep at the beginning of the night but then awaken after a few hours of sleep and are unable to return to sleep. It isn't clear if the awakening is due to a body temperature change such as a night sweat, of if night time awakening is an independent additional symptom of menopause. Treating obvious night sweats does help reduce the number of night time awakenings.

When awakening, women describe their minds as "racing." They become concerned about matters in their daily lives and have the impression that solving these concerns will then allow them to go back to sleep. At the same time, if asked, they will say this obsessive thinking rarely arrives at any helpful solutions.

Interrupting the obsessive thinking by focusing on something else can be helpful in returning to sleep. Some women read or watch TV until they are drowsy. Some women focus on mental exercises, listen to music or audiobooks. The principle remains the same. If she focuses on something other than her daily concerns, she will return to sleep more quickly.

Practicing meditation and regular daily exercise also improve sleep patterns.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.