There are a number of benefits to getting a good night’s sleep. However, as we age, sleeping soundly through the night can become more difficult.

This is especially true for women navigating the menopause transition (which includes pre/perimenopause, and postmenopause). According to a study published in the online journal Menopause, the postmenopausal phase is the most problematic when it comes to sleep.

How postmenopause may affect your sleep

The study, which was conducted by the North American Menopause Society (NAMS), involved over 6,100 Canadian women between 45 to 60 years old. All of the women were experiencing menopausal transitions.

The participants were instructed to report their sleep duration, quality, and satisfaction, along with various sleep disorders. Researchers then used this data to analyze the women’s sleep patterns.

Post-analyzation revealed that, compared with pre/perimenopausal women, postmenopausal women needed more time to fall asleep (approx. 30 minutes) and were more likely to suffer from obstructive sleep apnea or sleep-onset insomnia disorder.

What does this mean for women in menopause?

“This study highlights links between menopause and insomnia and obstructive sleep apnea,” said Dr. Stephanie Faubion, NAMS medical director in a news release. Faubion emphasized the importance of sleep problems being identified and addressed — especially since over half of menopausal women are affected by them.

A good night’s rest is important because sleep deprivation can wreak havoc on the body in numerous ways, leading to a host of health problems.

Here are five ways to improve your sleep, according to Marcia Kester Doyle, author of ‘Who Stole My Spandex? Life In The Hot Flash Lane‘ and blogger at Menopausal Mom:

1. Create an atmosphere that is conducive to sleep. A darkened room, limited noise, proper temperature, and a comfortable surface for a good night’s rest.

2. Caffeine, alcohol, and energy drinks are known for disrupting sleep patterns. Avoid drinking these beverages before bed to achieve a night of uninterrupted sleep.

3. Try a nightly meditation routine to help relax the body and calm the mind before going to sleep.

4. Limit screentime before bed. Exposure to the blue light emitted by electronics can affect sleep.

5. Avoid heavy and spicy foods at night. If you need a small snack in the evening, eat something light several hours beforehand so that your body has time to digest the food.

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