Monday June 24, 2019

Sleep problems in menopause linked to hot flashes, depression

The women provided annual surveys and blood samples so that the researchers could track sleep disruptions, other menopausal symptoms and hormone levels

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Sleep
Those that are familiar with stress, know that stress can have you up all night. Wikimedia Commons

A study of middle-aged women by the University of Illinois (UI) found that sleep problems vary across the stages of menopause, yet are consistently correlated with hot flashes and depression.

The UI researchers used data from the Midlife Women’s Health Study, which followed 776 women aged 45-54 in the greater Baltimore area for up to seven years.

The women provided annual surveys and blood samples so that the researchers could track sleep disruptions, other menopausal symptoms and hormone levels as women transitioned from pre- to post-menopause, Xinhua reported.

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To track poor sleep, the surveys asked questions about the frequency of insomnia, restless sleep and sleep disturbances.

The study found no correlation between the likelihood of reporting poor sleep before menopause, during menopause and after menopause.

Depression and hot flashes are two risk factors vary in reported frequency across menopausal stages.
Depression and hot flashes are two risk factors vary in reported frequency across menopausal stages. Wikimedia Commons

This means that for many women in the study, their reported sleep problems changed as they transitioned to different stages of menopause. In other words, women who had insomnia during menopause were not more likely to have insomnia after menopause.

In analyzing the surveys for any other symptoms or factors that might be associated with poor sleep, the researchers found that hot flashes and depression were strongly correlated with poor sleep across all stages of menopause.

Those two risk factors vary in reported frequency across menopausal stages, which might help explain why poor sleep also varies across the stages, the researchers said.

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The findings suggest that addressing those risk factors may also address sleep disruptions, as well as give women hope that their sleep symptoms may not last past the menopausal transition, said Rebecca Smith, a UI professor of pathobiology.

Smith conducted the study with Jodi Flaws and Megan Mahoney, professors of comparative biosciences at Illinois.

The study has been published in the journal Sleep Medicine. (IANS)

Next Story

Unable to Sleep at Night? This One Trick Can Help Advance Snooze Time by 2 Hours

Having a late sleep pattern puts you at odds with the standard societal days

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Sleep, Night, Trick
Such changes can also lead to improved performance in the mornings. Pixabay

Researchers have found that a simple tweak to the sleeping patterns and maximising outdoor light during the mornings for a period of three weeks can help night owls — people with extreme late sleeping and waking habits – bring forward their sleep/wake timings by two hours.

Such changes can also lead to improved performance in the mornings, better eating habits and a decrease in depression and stress among people with late sleeping habits, showed the findings.

The study, published in the journal Sleep Medicine, showed that it was possible to shift the circadian rhythm of ‘night owls’ using non-pharmacological and practical interventions.

“Having a late sleep pattern puts you at odds with the standard societal days, which can lead to a range of adverse outcomes – from daytime sleepiness to poorer mental wellbeing,” said study co-author Andrew Bagshaw from the University of Birmingham in the UK.

Sleep, Night, Trick
A simple tweak to the sleeping patterns and maximising outdoor light during the mornings for a period of three weeks can help night owls. Pixabay

The researchers wanted to see if simple things could solve this issue.

In an experiment with a small group of participants that spanned for three weeks, the group were asked to wake up two-three hours before regular wake up time and maximise outdoor light during the mornings.

They were also asked to go to bed two-three hours before habitual bedtime and limit light exposure in the evening, have fixed sleep/wake times on both work days and free days and have breakfast as soon as possible after waking up, eat lunch at the same time each day, and refrain from eating dinner after 7 p.m.

“We wanted to see if there were simple things people could do at home to solve this issue. This was successful, on average allowing people to get to sleep and wake up around two hours earlier than they were before,” Bagshaw said.

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“Most interestingly, this was also associated with improvements in mental wellbeing and perceived sleepiness, meaning that it was a very positive outcome for the participants.” (IANS)