Archive for the ‘PMS’ category

Women’s Sleep Health

November 30, 2010

It’s when reproductive years begin that women begin having more sleep problems. Here are some common sleep disturbances by hormonal status.

During the premenstrual week, women report having more difficulty falling asleep, sleeping through the night and waking in the morning. It’s common in the office for women to say “The week before my period I need more sleep.”

During pregnancy sleep changes each trimester. During the first trimester women typically need more sleep, and find themselves sleepier during the day. Sleep improves during the second trimester, generally speaking. Symptoms of reflux, leg cramps, frequent urination, and simply being uncomfortable lying down disturb sleep in the third trimester.

During menopause, women’s sleep can be disturbed by hot flashes and night sweats. Also, as part of the aging process, sleep is lighter with more awakenings. It is also important to know that sleep disordered breathing (such as snoring and apnea) becomes more common in women after menopause.

What can I do to improve my sleep?
If you are experiencing sleep problems common to women, here are some tips to help yourself sleep well all month:
- If you need to, allow yourself extra sleep time during the week before your period, so you can feel more energetic and less sleepy.
- If you are having night sweats and getting too hot at night, take steps to keep cool. (Remember, people tend to sleep better when they are cool). So turn the thermostat down, layer blankets so you can easily adjust them, and wear fabrics that wick heat and moisture away from your body. Be creative with your bedpartner in finding a solution to keep both of you at a comfortable temperature. Several patients have recommended specialty products, including those from Wild Bleu and Opposheets.
- If you are having hormonal problems, see a naturopathic physician who can develop a treatment plan for you to better moderate your hormone levels.
- If your sleep continues to be disturbed, you may have another sleep disorder, or need specialized treatment from a sleep center.

PMS and Sleep

November 30, 2009

Women of all ages experience sleep changes in response to hormone fluctuations. Today let’s look at the sleep of women during their monthly menstrual cycle.

In 1998, the Sleep in America poll by the National Sleep Foundation was all about women’s sleep. Almost 50% of women reported that symptoms such as bloating, headaches, cramps, and breast tenderness interfere with their sleep 2-3 days each month.

Other women report being more sleepy just before their period. This is when progesterone levels are dropping rapidly. One woman shared with me that she needs to sleep an extra hour for the four nights before and during her period. This has been so consistent that she now puts the extra sleep time into her calendar so she can continue to function well on those days. She notices that when she does schedule extra sleep for that week she is less moody, irritable and emotional, has more energy, and can think more clearly.

If you struggle with PMS symptoms, see if getting more sleep helps you maintain a good quality of life during that time. Write to let me know what effect it has for you.


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