Renata Lynn Atkinson, MS
According the National Sleep Foundation 35% of American adults report regularly getting fewer than 7 hours of sleep per night and, for women, the prevalence of sleep disturbance increases approaching and during the peri-menopausal transition. Hot flashes and night sweats are significant contributors to disturbed sleep for many women at this time of life, but they’re not the only factor at play. In fact, not all women in peri-menopause experience hot flashes. Research into perimenopause and sleep disturbance showed that around 40% of night-time wakings were not associated with hot flashes.
Check out this review article for a synopsis of research on sleep and perimenopause.
In order to craft an effective sleep strategy, we must consider all the relevant factors. Typically, these include:
They’re not the only contributor, but they’re a big one. Hot flashes are triggered by hormonal fluctuations and are the result of the intersecting activity of three different body systems: the endocrine, nervous, and cardiovascular systems, so our strategy will need to target all three. You’ll also want to reduce or eliminate things that are known to trigger or increase the occurrence of hot flashes. Common triggers include alcohol, caffeine, and stress. (Stay tuned for a future post that goes more deeply into hot flashes)
Renata Lynn is a clinical herbalist in Greenbelt, MD who helps women build a solid foundation of wellness while working in partnership to address their unique health concerns, so they can live life with vibrance and vitality.