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Sleep After Menopause

Sleep After Menopause Cover

Maria J. Sunseri, MD 
CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform, 84 pages

Maria J. Sunseri, MD, a neurologist with a specialty in sleep medicine, practices in Pittsburgh in the neighborhood of the University of Pittsburgh, from which she obtained her undergraduate and medical degree. Her new book, Sleep After Menopause, is a short, quick enjoyable read about a very common problem prevalent among menopausal women, the group to whom she specifically addresses her book.

The book is written in a straightforward, conversational manner. As I read it, I was reminded of the direct, informational style of conversation many healthcare providers use when explaining medical conditions and treatment options to their patients. Reading it is rather like attending an ideal office visit with a personable, knowledgeable, caring, and helpful doctor or other medical provider.

The tone of Dr. Sunseri’s writing is encouraging, engendering confidence that sleep issues can be understood and improved both through self-help methods and consultation with physicians The book educates the reader about the basics of the physiology of sleep and circadian rhythms, discusses how menopause and learned behaviors can disrupt those, and supplies basic tools for women to use to help themselves improve their sleep. She also presents and discusses common medical conditions that can contribute to sleep disturbances and that should prompt direct consultation with a healthcare provider. Included in the text are basic questionnaires for medical issues, such as obstructive sleep apnea and restless legs syndrome, which can help an individual reader determine whether she would benefit from a formal medical consultation.

In addition to the written explanations of the main method of self-help therapy she presents, cognitive behavior therapy (CBT) for insomnia (modified), her book includes charts to use to implement her instructions and lists of helpful hints to improve adherence to the method and overall improve the success of the method. She also provides lists of other helpful hints that can improve sleep onset and quality.

Although the book will probably be most helpful to menopausal women who want to understand what is happening to them that is disrupting their sleep and what effective measures they can undertake themselves to improve their sleep, it may also be helpful to healthcare providers as a source of easily instituted, everyday advice. As I read it, I gleaned several “pearls” that I can take back to the women I help to care for throughout their menopausal journey. I also picked up some pearls I can use for myself.

So better sleeping to all and to all a good night.

Carol L. Gnatuk, MD
Assistant Professor
Penn State College of Medicine
Department of OB/GYN
Division of Reproductive Endocrinology and Infertility
Hershey, PA
Member of NAMS Education Committee and Abstract Review Committee

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