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  • Physical and household activity improve sleep

    by Margery Gass | Apr 04, 2013
    Getting a good night’s sleep isn’t always easy for women at menopause. Exercise may help, but women have tough time carving out leisure time for it. The good news from a sleep and exercise study published online in Menopause, the journal of The North American Menopause Society, is that higher levels of physical activity from housework and caregiving may be the more important key to a better night’s sleep for many women who have hot flashes or night sweats. It is good to know that an active daily routine can have benefits.
    Go comment!
  • More Zzzs please: a menopause sleep seminar

    by Margery Gass | Sep 25, 2012
    When a woman’s sleep is diminished, so is her quality of life. It may even be a risk factor for future diseases and breast cancer recurrence after menopause, according to a new sleep/breast cancer study. No matter what the cause of the disturbance -- night sweats, feelings of midlife anxiety -- getting 6 to 9 hours of sleep each night is never easy.

    Improving sleep routine is the key in treating sleep disturbances:
    • Maintain an environment that is conducive to sleep. Think quiet, cool, and dark.
    • Limit use of the bedroom to sleep and sexual activities.
    • Try relaxation techniques. Relaxation-inducing CDs or meditation can help you fall asleep.
    • Abide by the 15-minute rule. Those who don’t fall asleep within 15 minutes should get up, leave the bedroom to engage in relaxing activities elsewhere, and return to bed when drowsy.
    • Follow a sleep routine. Try to wake up and go to bed about the same time every day, even on weekends.
    • Wake up with the sun, if possible. Sunlight helps set the body’s biological clock.
    • Bring back the bedtime snack. While a large, heavy meal before bed can interfere with sleep, a light snack with protein and carbohydrates is recommended. A glass of warm milk may also induce sleep.
    • Avoid stimulants such as alcohol, caffeine, and nicotine throughout the entire day, not just during the evening.  
    • Exercise. Daily exercise may help ease insomnia for many women, but strenuous exercise close to bedtime can have the opposite effect.
    When lifestyle changes fail to alleviate sleep disturbances, a clinician should be consulted to discuss other options and to rule out medical causes of disrupted sleep. Women with serious sleep disturbances may benefit from referral to a sleep center.
    For more information about sleep disorders, check out the 70-page online booklet, Your Guide to Healthy Sleep, from the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute.  

    Go comment!

MenoPause: the blog!

Posts to our Blog are written by NAMS staff members and Dr. Margery Gass. All posts are reviewed and edited by Dr. Gass. We strive to bring you the most recent and interesting information about various aspect of menopause and midlife health. We accept no advertising for our website. We want you to have accurate, unbiased, evidence-based information. 

Margery L.S. Gass, MD, NCMP
NAMS Executive Director

An internationally recognized leader in the field of menopause, Dr. Gass became Executive Director of The North American Menopause Society in 2010. Dr. Gass has been an investigator on numerous research projects, including serving as a principal investigator for the Women’s Health Initiative, and has published and presented on a wide range of topics related to menopause, including osteoporosis, sexual dysfunction, and hormone therapy.

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