Insomnia For Flashers Understood, and Treating the Flashes is really all that works
I always want to know specifically the nature of any sleep problems my patients have. If you are suffering from general insomnia problems as opposed to only insomnia when you have hot flashes, the nature of your sleep complaints might be different. Hot flashes as a cause of sleep problems are more likely disturb your sleep more in the first half of your night than in the second. So when my patients are describing problems with menopausal sleep difficulties I need to know it all. Do you have trouble falling asleep, staying asleep or being awake once you are up. We think that most of us get into our deep dream or REM sleep later in the night and dreams have very potent effects on our rest through their effects on our brain's chemistry. REM sleep can suppress the awakenings from hot flashes! For women who have been controlled, and now have just stopped estrogen the studies do show that about 1 in 3 will have bothersome problems again with their sleep, so that it's important to get those hot flashes back under control if you get off hormone therapy and start having symptoms. So if we get your flashes under control, and you still are not getting restful sleep, then I want to know more, I may even want to refer you for a sleep study so that we can figure out if there is something else going on causing you to not sleep. A researcher at Brighams and Women's Hospital has been writing about menopausal sleep in an editorial in the September 2009 issue of Menopause and he has said that our perception of sleep is actually worse than our real sleep. He realizes that menopausal patients have less progesterone and perhaps that is a hormone reason for worse sleep. And he feels that sleeping pills really don't work well, and so Dr. Quentin Regestein says that we should look to the herbal sleep aid Valerian which is very popular (although also doesn't hold up to sleep lab research scrutiny). His suggestion is to use estrogen to treat insomnia due to hot flashes: so in other words treat the actual cause! And then you can think better and be less irritable!