Menopause, Sleep, Depression and Anxiety
In our previous blog, we talked about mid-life transition. In women, this transition is obvious as menstruation starts to become irregular. The average age for this transition is about 47 years old, and this phase may last for 4 years. People are familiar with hot flushes and night sweats, however changes in sleep and mood during this stage are extremely common, yet less talked about. About one in two women during peri-menopause experiences sleep disturbance or insomnia, and 25% to 45% suffer from anxiety or depression. Women in their 40s and 50s are often the key contributors to the workforce and family life. Increased responsibilities, lack of sleep and mood issues significantly impact on the quality of life of women in this age range. In Geelong, over 30,000 women are in their 40s and 50s.
Sleep deficiency greatly impacts on mood. Yet mood may worsen sleep. Various menopausal symptoms impact on each other and create a vicious cycle.
- Hot flushes and night seating impact on sleep.
- Poor sleep impacts on mood.
- Mental health, such as depression and anxiety, and lack of sleep contribute to fatigue and poor cognitive function, or foggy brain.
Hormonal replacement therapy, melatonin, hypnotic medications and anti-depressants all have their places, but not without side effects. Cognitive behavioural therapy is found to be effective to address sleep and depression for peri-menopausal women.
Acupuncture is anther non-drug therapy that has shown promising results in improving hot flushes, night sweating, sleep disturbance and mood changes. Utilising the holistic theory of Chinese medicine, practitioners develop different acupuncture plans to address a number of menopausal symptoms simultaneously, yet with a focus on a couple of key issues.
In addition to providing acupuncture and / or Chinese herbal medicine treatment, we encourage women to adopt some self-care approaches, which aim to provide sustained results. Those strategies include
- Developing or modifying exercise routines
- Dietary change
- Developing self-awareness
- Adopting meditation, mindfulness yoga, Qi Gong or Tai Chi.
The overall aim is not only to help smooth the life transition, but also to build a strong foundation for the years to come.