Hormonal, physical, and psychological changes occur throughout menopause, however the specific symptoms a woman experiences may differ. When a woman reaches menopause, which typically begins around age 50, she may experience a wide range of symptoms, including, but not limited to, hot flashes, headaches, lethargy, mood changes, and, unexpectedly, sleep apnea.
Insomnia is a common side effect of menopause.
The ovaries of a woman progressively (over the course of many years) reduce their production of oestrogen and progesterone during the perimenopause, or transition phase. After menstruation stops for a year, a woman is said to have achieved menopause, and sleep apnea symptoms are more common throughout perimenopause and post-menopause. In particular, there are hot flashes, which include sudden, intense bodily heat and often result in perspiration. During menopause, they affect around 75-85% of women, typically starting in the face and moving to the chest.
The typical duration of a hot flash is three minutes, meaning that they can disrupt sleep and reduce the quality of your rest. Though most women suffer from them for a year, nearly 25% of them suffer from hot flashes for five years. Though you could get the same amount of sleep, the quality will be far worse. Inability to function properly the next day is a direct result of sleep disruptions.
Insomnia, sleep apnea, and mood issues are all common menopausal complaints. As many as 61% of postmenopausal women experience insomnia symptoms, and they are often less happy with their sleep. Furthermore, studies have shown that postmenopausal women are more likely to suffer from severe snoring. Obstructive sleep apnea, characterised by snoring and breathing interruptions during sleep, is a more serious sleep condition (OSA).
So, What Exactly is OSA?
Obstructive sleep apnea occurs when the airway is clogged while one is sleeping, resulting in periodic cessation of breathing. When we stop breathing, our blood oxygen levels decrease, and that sends a signal to the brain to wake up and start breathing again. On the other hand, we don’t fully come to consciousness. These small awakenings can have a significant impact on the quality of our sleep, leaving us feeling exhausted when we finally get to bed.
What is the relationship between sleep apnea and the onset of menopause?
Menopause is characterised by a drop in oestrogen and progesterone levels in women. These hormones play a stimulating function in keeping airways open by regulating the tone of the throat muscles. The risk of respiratory difficulties increases as they fall. Hormonal shifts also contribute to weight growth and a shift in body fat distribution, which can generate an accumulation of fat around the neck and upper chest, which can obstruct breathing.
Snoring is another possible side effect of weight increase. Statistics show that 3% of women have snoring before menopause and 11% after menopause. It was discovered that replacement treatment helped people with apnea by lessening its severity, but it did not completely eradicate the condition.
Heart problems are another concern associated with sleep apnea. Menopause is a time when it occurs more frequently in women. Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) was investigated in postmenopausal women at high risk of cardiovascular disease in a 2017 French research. There were 91 menopausal patients with cardiovascular disease who participated in the 2-year trial at Lille University Hospital. A majority (73%) of these individuals who were screened for OSA really suffered from sleep apnea.
Those of you who are past menopause and have snoring and believe you could have sleep apnea may be wondering what to do about it.
The first thing to do is to have sleep apnea checked out. Consult your physician if you get OSA symptoms and have trouble sleeping. Air Liquide Healthcare provides home testing tool that is easy, quick, and accurate. If you’re not sure if sleep testing is suitable for you, feel free to contact us for a no-cost consultation.
A continuous positive air pressure (CPAP) machine will likely be administered if the results of the sleep study indicate that you have sleep apnea. When it comes to treating OSA, CPAP is by far the most reliable option. In Australia, many of people rely on it nightly. In order to keep the airway open during sleeping, CPAP uses a mild stream of air that is directed through the airway.
Other health hazards, such as memory loss and weight gain, can be mitigated by receiving treatment for sleep apnea.
Some more advice on how to get a good night’s sleep:
- Never use nicotine, caffeine, or alcohol within at least six hours of bedtime.
- Spices and acidic meals, in particular, have been linked to night sweats.
- Try to have a healthy diet.
- Consuming soy-based meals may help reduce the severity of hot flashes.
- Do not eat a big dinner right before bed.
- Stay at a healthy, steady weight.
If you want to get most out of your sleep time, try wearing loose, breathable clothing. Instead of wearing a thick, insulating blanket, try a fan or air conditioning to chill things down and get the blood flowing.
Make every effort to lessen your level of anxiety and tension. To unwind, try some yoga, a massage, or some light exercise. If you are feeling sad, worried, or having other issues, it is important to talk to a specialist in the field of mental health. Plan ahead of time and skip the naps. Maintaining a consistent bedtime requires establishing a routine, while naps may make it more difficult to drift off.
Make sure it’s comfortable in there for you to sleep by regulating the temperature and lighting. Buy a fan or a sleep mask if you need to, but making sure your bedroom is cold and dark can help you get the best sleep possible before night.
Avoid working out right before you turn in for the night. Exercise is crucial to a healthy lifestyle, but if you can, try to squeeze it into your schedule earlier in the day.
Life improves with better sleep.
Sleep apnea is underdiagnosed in women all over the world. Contact Air Liquide Healthcare right away to start living better thanks to better sleep. You can achieve more in your personal and professional life after receiving an accurate diagnosis and therapy.