It’s no secret that hormones affect nearly every facet of your life; sleeping patterns are no exception. Hormone imbalance strikes women at many times in her life, most predictably at menarche (first menstruation), pregnancy, and menopause. Estrogen is a key hormone for women as it influences many processes of the body including;
- Bone loss prevention
- Body temperature regulation
- Mental health and cognitive preservation
- Reproductive health
- Maintaining healthy sleeping patterns
Then it’s no surprise that women experience particular trouble sleeping at times during estrogenic fluctuations. During menopause, for example, estrogen levels plummet and the remaining level in the body is spread so thin that many of estrogen’s duties go undone resulting in unpleasant symptoms during menopause. Though sleeping difficulties can be a direct product of estrogen deficiency, sleep can also be affected by the other symptoms that accompany fallen estrogen levels.
- Hot flashes and night sweats
- Stomach problems
These and other symptoms can lead to insomnia, or the difficulty getting to sleep and staying asleep for at least one month. Women with an estrogen deficiency are also at risk for developing other sleep disorders that put them at risk for fatigue and irritability.
- Sleep apnea- having one or more pauses in breathing during sleep.
- Restless leg syndrome (RLS) which is exactly how it sounds. Sufferers have a constant urge to move their appendages, usually their legs.
- Narcolepsy- attacks of sleep and sleepiness during the day.
There are treatment options available for sleep disorders. The first step to selecting the method for you is to test your estrogen levels to make sure that your dissatisfying sleep is the result of insufficient estrogen. Once you know that your body needs more estrogen there are many routes you can take.
1. Exercise. Exercise is one of the most basic and least invasive methods for balancing hormones.
2. Eat estrogen promoting foods. Soy and flax seed are among them, but should not be over eaten. There is a fine line between estrogen deficiency and estrogen dominance.
3. Try estrogenic herbs. Wild yam, black cohosh, and maca are all naturally occurring plants that contain bioidentical estrogen.
4. Estrogen replacement therapy (ERT). Is a risky method that replaces lacking levels of estrogen in the body with laboratory-synthesized estrogen. There are many side effects.
For more information
If you are suffering from sleeping problems, talk with your doctor about diagnostic options to better assess what treatment is right for you. ERT can be effective for certain women, but in many instances, the benefits do not outweigh the costs. For more information about sleeping problems, follow this link: estrogen and sleeping problems.
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