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Understanding Menopausal Insomnia

While many people know about the hot flashes and night sweats that come along with menopause, there are a number of other symptoms that aren't quite as well-known. One of the biggest side effects of menopause is menopausal insomnia, which leaves women lying awake at night unable to find sleep. Here are a few things you should know about menopausal insomnia and how to treat it.

  • Menopausal insomnia normally affects women in their 30s and 40s, but that's not the only age group that is affected by menopause. Some women start to experience perimenopausal symptoms long before menopause sets in, even as early as their 20s. Because of this, you could start to experience menopausal insomnia much earlier.
  • Menopausal insomnia is caused by hormonal changes due to a woman's ovaries gradually decreasing production of estrogen and progesterone. This causes an unsettling feeling that results in insomnia.
  • Other menopausal symptoms, such as hot flashes and night sweats, can contribute to insomnia because of the discomfort they produce.
  • Because hot flashes are bursts of adrenaline that surge from your brain to your body, it's easy to see why these could cause insomnia. While many people think that hot flashes wake them up simply because of the change in temperature, they also wake you up because of the adrenaline that causes them.
  • Depression and mood swings are, sadly, another side effect of menopause. Insomnia is a common symptom of depression, so you may have difficulty sleeping at night if you have these types of mood changes. Luckily, anti-depressants are shown to have great success in battling insomnia.
  • While it's not as easy to show with medical tests, social issues and family changes are also a big cause behind insomnia. While going through menopause, many women are also experiencing other life changes, such as children moving out of the house, retiring from their jobs, or the deaths of their parents. These types of issues can put stress on a woman's mind, which contributes to insomnia.