After the age of 45, nine out of ten women may have a bad night’s sleep. The data, which was presented at the national congress of the Onda Observatory in Milan, seems to derive mainly from two factors: poor diet and menopause. We talked about sleep disorders in this particular stage of women’s lives with Dr. Elena Zannoni, Head of Conservative and Endoscopic Surgery and specialist at Humanitas Fertility Center.
Poor sleep during pregnancy
Onda, the national observatory on women’s health and gender, conducted a survey involving a sample of 150 men and 150 women between 45 and 65 years. The data, presented in Milan at the opening of the 2nd National Congress of the Observatory “The woman and the couple after the fertile age – Health that changes: prevention, lifestyles, fragility” indicated that the difficulty to fall asleep, restless sleep, night awakenings and early wake-up are clear signs of sleep disorders that impact on the physical and mental health and stability of the couple. “For more than 90% of Italians between 45 and 65 years sleeping well is very important and the basis of well-being – said Francesca Merzagora, President of Onda – but only for 1 in 10 this is easy.
Among the causes of sleep disorders the most common are mental stress and problems, inadequate lifestyle and diet, physical fatigue but inevitable factors such as menopause and aging. However, for 98% of the respondents, the consequences are mainly psychological.
Insomnia is most common in menopausal women
A significant reduction in melatonin secretion in women in menopause is responsible for greater insomnia, a disorder that is 1.5 times more common in women than in men and that seems to increase with age. Depression is also one of the most important triggers of chronic insomnia and, at the same time, responsible for the worsening of a number of other metabolic symptoms such as type 2 diabetes and obesity. If you sleep less than 6 or 7 hours per night, you have a high risk of gaining weight, due to an altered absorption of glucose.
Postmenopausal women should therefore be instructed in healthy lifestyle habits that encourage regular sleep at night (avoid excessive nutrition, alcohol and caffeine in the evening, maintain constant hours to go to bed, do not smoke, do a proper physical activity during the day, do not perform particularly stressful or exciting activities before sleeping, etc.).
In patients who report insomnia problems and who have no clinical contraindications, it is advisable to consider the start of hormone replacement therapy.