Sleep in peri-menopausal and post-menopausal women.
Despite the fact that a large number of women report sleep disturbances associated with peri-menopausal and post-menopausal periods, there is a surprising lack of literature related to this issue. In fact, there has not been enough work in this area to even definitively establish whether there is a sleep disorder that is specifically related to these life-stage changes. Herein we review the available literature which suggests that insomnia may be directly linked to the changes that occur during the peri/post-menopausal periods. This insomnia appears to be due to night sweats caused by the hormonal changes which occur and which lead to an increase in arousals. Persistence of insomnia symptoms after adequate hormone replacement therapy may indicate that behavioral conditioning of the insomnia initially triggered by the night sweats may have occurred. Alternatively, such an insomnia in a peri/post-menopausal woman could be due to unresolved grief related to going through menopause or could reflect an independent sleep disorder, such as periodic movements of sleep, sleep apnea, depression, anxiety, etc. Whereas menopausal changes do not directly lead to an increase in sleep apnea they seemingly contribute to an increased risk for this disorder. In view of these considerations, we provide guidelines for the proper diagnosis and treatment of peri/post-menopausal women with sleep complaints.
Krystal, AD; Edinger, J; Wohlgemuth, W; Marsh, GR
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