Does Menopause Cause Insomnia?
Yes, menopause can cause insomnia.
More Info: During menopause, a woman's levels of blood calcium drop to new lows because absent ovarian hormones are no longer secreting estrogen and progesterone into the system. And it is this lower level of blood calcium that underpins a whole host of menopausal symptoms, including insomnia as well as hot flashes, night sweats and leg cramps.
How to Treat Menopause Symptoms
The good news is that this calcium deficiency can be mitigated by certain dietary adjustments. For example, foods such as fish, eggs, and cheese contain Vitamin D, which allows women to improve their metabolism's calcium absorption. Conversely, eating higher levels of daily potassium from fruits and vegetables can enable a woman to diminish their rate of calcium excretion, especially during the late stages of menopause.
Hot Flashes and Insomnia Coincide
At the same time, menopause is such a conflagration of different symptoms and side effects that just recently have scientists begun to understand how these various factors are inter-connected. Research conducted in 2006 at Stanford University confirmed for the first time a causal link between menopausal hot flashes and menopausal insomnia. While several other factors could be related to the insomnia suffered by 79% of peri-menopausal women (one or more menstrual cycles in the past year) and 51% of post-menopausal women (zero menstrual cycles in the past year), hot flashes were found to be the most important contributor.
In cases where women were suffering from severe hot flashes, chronic insomnia was found to be dramatically higher. Four out of five women in this category had some sort of insomnia. Overall, the research concluded that insomnia was likely to occur more frequently once women began menopause. Specifically, 57% of peri-menopausal women and 51% of post-menopausal women were found to suffer from insomnia. The research acknowledged that in some cases, other factors such as stress, anxiety and sleep apnea were lesser contributing factors.