Take Back Your Sleep
By Cathy Lee Taylor
NABBW’s Expert on Menopause

Menopause results into trouble sleeping for so many women. We wake up too many times in the night to go to the bathroom. Our restless legs wake us up. As our hormones continue to shift (typically declining) beginning with peri-menopause throughout menopause and post-menopause, we experience more hot flashes and night sweats that interrupt our nightly rest. Even small amounts of light and noise can wake us up and stimulate our nervous system making it difficult to fall back to sleep.  All of these things can leave us feeling disoriented, tired and cranky during the day.

Karen Giblin, president and founder of Red Hot Mamas, and Jo Anne Turner, an adult nurse practitioner at SleepMed of South Carolina, are both spokespeople for the Take Back Your Sleep program, an educational awareness program for women who are having trouble sleeping as they approach and move through menopause. The Take Back Your Sleep program features a website, which provides resources for managing insomnia during menopause.

You can learn how to manage your sleep issues during menopause by understanding your treatment options including over-the-counter sleep aids, prescription sleep aids, alternative sleep aids and behavioral treatment options. You will also find a free Sleep Discussion Guide that you can use to help you work with your own healthcare professional because according to the research, 62% of survey respondents had never discussed their insomnia during menopause with their healthcare professional (HCP). Of those women, 92% had to initiate the conversation with their doctor.

Here are some of their other survey results:

Physician Interaction

  • 78% of women surveyed consulted a primary care physician
  • 32% of women surveyed consulted an OB/GYN or GYN

Symptoms

  • 63% of women had trouble falling asleep
  • 79% had trouble staying asleep

Quality of Life

  • 76% of the women surveyed reported that insomnia during menopause moderately to significantly impacted their overall quality of life.
    • Of those women:
      76% experienced daytime drowsiness/fatigue
      52% experienced irritability
      41% experienced difficulty concentrating/job issues
      34% experienced difficulty with intimacy with their partner

Diagnosis/Treatment

  • 73% of women surveyed received a recommendation from their HCP for hygiene/behavior modifications. Of those women, 1% found it very effective and 50% found it somewhat effective
  • 31% of women surveyed were prescribed a prescription sleep aid. Of those women, 77% found it helpful and 55% are still taking the sleep aid

The bottom line is you can\’t depend on your doctor alone when it comes to your body and what you can do to lessen the uncomfortable symptoms of the menopause transition.

There are all kinds of tips you can experiment with such as: don\’t nap in the middle of the day and see if this helps you sleep longer at night. Stop caffeine, nicotine or any stimulants for awhile and measure how your body responds. Try not eating late at night; especially too close to sleep time. Make sure you exercise in the morning or late afternoon instead of close to bedtime.

So, if you are experiencing any level of insomnia and just want to get back to feeling refreshed in the morning, head over to TakeBackYourSleep.com and find out how to get a good night\’s sleep!