Sleep problems and insomnia during the transition or Pre-menopause

  and the transition

Sleep problems and insomnia during the transition

Insomnia and night sweats can be sleep problems that women may encounter during the transition. The transition is a period in a woman’s life when her ovaries stop producing hormones estrogen and progesterone and she stops menstruation.

The transition is a normal part of aging and marks the end of female reproductive years.Women can start transition at different ages. Most women notice the first signs of irregular menstruation and sleep poorly around the age of 40. But some women experience this around their thirtieth.

Sleep problems during the transition

The most common sleep problems during the transition are:

  • Insomnia
  • Excessive sweating during the night (night sweats)
  • Fatigue


Insomnia is a common complaint of women in the transition. According to sleep experts , insomnia occurs in 40-50% of women during the transition. And women with insomnia are more at risk of fear, stress, tension and depressive symptoms. In addition, an analysis of data from the Medical Research Council’s National Health Survey reveals that women are 2 to 3.5 times more likely to have severe sleep problems during the transition. In addition, they reported night sweats, suddenly awake, and bizarre and intense dreams. Make sure you have a good sleep hygiene. For example, learn the 7 golden rules for a good sleep hygiene .

Night sweats

Night sweats is a common complaint of women in the transition. The “thermostat knob” in the brain is due to hormonal changes in stroke. During the transition, the body is wrong to think that it is too hot to widen the blood vessels and you will perspire because the body wants to cool down. It’s innocent and logical but very annoying. Make sure your bedroom is cool. If necessary, buy a quiet fan . Wear cotton nightwear and consider purchasing another type of mattress. Especially pocket suspension mattresses ventilate extra well.


There is nothing so annoying as the lack of energy. Fatigue is one of the most commonly heard complaints in women in transition. Many women experience long periods of lethargy and fatigue. This can greatly affect your daily life. Other characteristics may be irritability and reduced concentration. Try to take rest regularly and make sure you pay attention to your wishes. Regularly moving, balanced diet and positive thinking provide strength during this difficult period.

The three phases of the transition

Many women who show symptoms of insomnia around their 40th century, actually experience the beginning of their transition, the pre-menopause. Because the transition is a gradual process and consists of 3 phases.

First phase: Pre-menopause

This is the period before you have your last menstrual period. Especially in pre-menopause, hormonal fluctuations are high. At first, you may not notice so much of here. But when you get closer to your menopause, your menstrual pattern will also change: your menstrual period may be more severe, longer or more painful, but also less fierce, shorter or at intervals than you are used to. You may also experience menopause-like symptoms, such as hot flashes, sleep problems and vaginal dryness. All of these changes are caused by the ovaries producing less hormones. If you get close to the next stage (the menopause), this is also called the peri-menopause.

The second phase: the menopause

Although the menopause itself is not a “big” stage in your transition, it’s probably for you as a woman an important moment: the menopause is the day you experienced the very last period of menstruation. Of course, you do not know this in advance, so the menopause is only possible afterwards. Only when your menstrual period has left a year can you say that you have the menopause behind.

The third phase: the post-menopausal

In the third and final stages of transition, your body is resting: the ovaries are now completely stopped producing hormones and the menopause is a fact. This does not mean, however, that the transitional complaints are entirely in the past. Your body is still looking for a new balance. However, the transitional complaints will decrease as the post menopause lasts longer.

Hormonal changes during transition

As mentioned, you as a woman get in transition with hormonal and physical changes. Let’s take a closer look at how this affects your sleep.

Progesterone is a hormone that is present in women in a significant amount. This sex hormone is mainly produced during pregnancy by the placenta, but also during the menstrual cycle. Progesterone has profound effects on sleep. At an optimal level, progesterone encourages to sleep while keeping the breathing stable.

Estrogen helps deepen sleep; The presence increases the sleep cycles of REM sleep, sleep time and reduces the number of cases of spontaneous awakening.

Consequences of less estrogen and progesterone

Women with low estrogen and progesterone levels wake up twice as often as women with “normal” hormone levels. They also suffer from anxiety and shortness of breath. Estrogen is also part of the body’s heat transfer system. Therefore, low estrogen levels are associated with the characteristic hot flashes experienced by women in the transition. In addition, estrogen and progesterone also affect other hormones such as: Cortisol, Melatonin and Testosterone. These hormones also play a role in your sleep wake-up rhythm.

Transition phenomena

Sleep problems such as sleeplessness and night sweats (night sweats) are typical transient complaints and are caused by the hormonal and physical changes that occur. But there are many more transition problems that can occur:

Hot flushes Changing vocal cords
Weight gain Incontinence
Irregular menstruation Change of body odor
Loss of libido Depression
Vaginal dryness Irritability
Mood swings Anxiety and panic disorders
Fatigue Headache
Hair loss Painful joints
Sleep disorders Complaints digestion
Difficult concentrate Dry skin
Memory loss Night sweats
Dizziness Increased heart rate

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