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January 9th, 2009
01:10 PM ET

Sleepless Women

By Val Willingham
CNN Medical Producer

For the past few years, I haven't really had good night's sleep. I've tried sleep masks, ear plugs, even evicting our Jack Russell terrier from the bed. I've taken mild sedatives, or a shot of Patron in the evening to make me sleepy but none of these seem to work. I can go to sleep at 1:45 a.m. and wake up at 2 a.m. wide awake. Sometimes I toss and turn; other times I get out of bed, walk around, read a book or fiddle with the Internet, until I get tired and then I go back to sleep. Doctors will tell you I have a classic case of insomnia. It could be because of my age, or maybe my weight. Some sleep experts say I might have an active brain, that doesn't need a lot of sleep. The problem is, my body does.

According to the National Sleep Foundation, many women in their late 30s or 40s are experiencing the beginning of menopause, better known as perimenopause. And during this time, sleep can be affected by many things, such as hormonal and lifestyle changes. During perimenopause and after menopause a woman's ovaries gradually decrease production of estrogen and progesterone, a sleep-promoting hormone. The shifting of these hormones many times contributes to the inability to fall asleep. Add hot flashes, slower metabolism and stress and it's no wonder older women can't get enough shuteye.

Sleep experts warn that getting into a pattern of no sleep or interrupted sleep is not good. Recent studies have found that a lack of sleep can lead to poor judgment, fatigue-related accidents and weight gain.

So what to do? Here's what the experts suggest:
Try to be consistent with your wake-up times and when you go to bed. Build a tight sleep structure you can live with every day.  Make your room dark and quiet.  Too much light can disrupt the secretion of melatonin, which can upset a sleeping individual's body clock. Keep it cool. The ideal temperature for comfortable sleep is around 63 F. Also, skip the alcohol and food a couple of hours before you go to bed. Alcohol may help you fall asleep quicker, but once it metabolizes in the body, it can wake you up in the middle of the night.  And if you exercise, do it in the morning. Most people become alert after an intense workout and may have a harder time falling asleep, so try to exercise at least three hours before you hit the sack.

If things don't improve, see your doctor. Poor sleep habits can lead to other medical issues, so it's best to get it taken care of before it becomes a bigger problem.

Do you have a tough time sleeping? What's it like and what do you do to make it through the night? We'd like to hear about it.

Editor's Note: Medical news is a popular but sensitive subject rooted in science. We receive many comments on this blog each day; not all are posted. Our hope is that much will be learned from the sharing of useful information and personal experiences based on the medical and health topics of the blog. We encourage you to focus your comments on those medical and health topics and we appreciate your input. Thank you for your participation.


soundoff (93 Responses)
  1. ANGELA

    I take tylenol pm every night. thatmay be wrong but thats the only way I get some sleep.

    January 9, 2009 at 14:15 | Report abuse | Reply
  2. Ann McCambridge

    I am one of those women that attributed my interrupted sleep to going through Menapause. I began having interrupted sleep in my mid 40's and continued to this day at the age of 57. I struggled to get enough sleep as I would wake about every 90 minutes. I would go to sleep easily, but would continue to awake about every 60-90 minutes throughout the night, and awake exhausted. This occurred every night, no matter what I did to try to prevent it. I tried melatonin, sleepy time tea, and even pain relivers with PM in the label. Nothing worked to keep me asleep. After about 4 years, I went to a sleep clinic and had a sleep study done and followed that with a nap study the next day. The clinic was basically looking for sleep apnea. They said that my breathing was not impaired, but that I did go to sleep within 4 minutes, but would wake alert throughout the night, unable to achieve the deep REM sleep needed to repair my body. I tried the C-Pap machine and felt it worked the first week, and that may have been because I was so exhasted. After that initial period I continued to awake as before, so I discontinued using it. After suffering about 7 years, I finally consented to taking sleep medication. I have been taking a small dose of sleep medication for about 5 years now. That was later supplemented with Amtriptalyn (sp?) 30 mg. About 2 years ago after suffery numerous joint pain throughout my body. The doctor who headed the physical therapy department where I went for a consultation about my joint pain, felt that it was caused from my body being unable to repair and heal itself through sleep. He is the one that supplemented my sleep medication and I went through physical therapy for about 6 months. This physical therapy also included fascia manipulation. After 6 months of good sleep and physical therapy, I was able to walk without pain in my major joints. I am not totally pain free, but about 95% better. I continue to use sleep aids to get a good nights sleep. If I unknowingly miss taking the the sleep aids, I will awake in the night. I have tried several times to sleep without them. Unfortunately, there is not a lot of information on the internet with reference to this. I have read a lot of information eluding to interruped sleep, but it does not go any further in explaining what it is or what causes it. I can't believe that I am the only one that suffers from this. I am just writing this to let people out there, having these symptoms, know they are not alone.

    January 9, 2009 at 15:36 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Sandra

      It was so good to find your post in regards to your sleep problem. I am 62 and have had insomnia off and on for years but usually I could pinpoint the stress causing it. The only thing I can think of now is that two months ago we had to put my mother in a nursing home. She has adjusted to it ok. Also, I just changed doctors and haven't been happy since. Both doctors gave me Ambien and I take it 1 – 2 times a week but right now, I actually need it every night but have been afraid to take it that much. I've tried Melatonin, 5-HTP and Valerin. These don't work. I wish I knew if I could take the Ambien every night. What do you take? Again, I am glad to find your post. I would appreciate any advise/suggestions.

      August 1, 2010 at 12:14 | Report abuse |
  3. H

    I just watched the video on sleep problems and woman. It's too bad that you featured a woman that was bottle feeding her child. Breast feeding is not only healthier for the baby, it takes less time in the middle of the night to prepare and less disruptive to sleep.

    January 9, 2009 at 16:39 | Report abuse | Reply
  4. Barbara

    I was very interested to read this post. I agree completely about middle-aged women having trouble with sleep.

    In addition to perimenopause, I have two sleep disorders: obstructive sleep apnea and periodic limb movement in sleep (the latter more popularly known as restless leg syndrome). I had my first sleep study at 45 years old and was that an eye opener! I found out that the apnea was waking me up 20 times an hour and the limb movement 52 times an hour.

    I have always had trouble waking up in the morning and as a child it was a family joke that I would barely make the school bus. I also remember a friend telling me during a sleepover, "Do you know you stop breathing at night?" It turns out that my apnea is caused by a slightly deviated septum and a smaller than normal airway. Additionally, I've always been known to be a "kicker" in bed and I often wake up with my blankets piled up on one side of the bed.

    But I was able to cope with all this until I reached perimenopause. Gradually, it became harder and harder to wake up in the morning. I began to have symptoms such as wheezing, fatigue, and occasional shortness of breath. I got sick a lot with colds, sinus infections, and bronchitis. My PCP misdiagnosed me with asthma (wihtout testing me) and put me on albuterol and singulair. Within a couple of months I developed chest pain and severe shortness of breath.

    I got a new PCP who specialized in chest diseases. She tested me for asthma, ruled that out and took me off singulair. The chest pain and shortness of breath disappeared. On my second visit, she began to ask me about my sleep and sent me for a sleep study. I was diagnosed with the disorders I mentioned above, and told that I have "severely fractured sleep."

    Even with a CPAP and medication for the PLMS, I continue to have disturbed sleep. It has affected my ability to hold a job, I have had problems with weight gain and depression. I have had two more sleep studies and have been told that there is only so much they can do to help me sleep. I abide by the sleep hygiene tips you mentioned in your article. Additionally, I have stopped caffeine. I also find that stretching before I go to bed and doing relaxation exercises helps diminish limb movement.

    I am hoping that my sleep will improve after menopause. Even if it doesn't, I'm adjusting to a number of lifestyle changes in order to accomodate my lack of sleep.

    If someone has sleep apnea, it's very important to get treatment for it as it can lead to heart trouble. As annoying as the CPAP mask is to wear, it's really vital that people use it.

    Thanks for your article.

    January 9, 2009 at 17:03 | Report abuse | Reply
  5. GardenNut

    I have a lot of friends who have fibro (as do I) and we have problems with sleeping throughout the night. We never reach a recuperative sleep level.

    Then we are fatigued and achy, so we can't sleep. So we get medication for the pain or insomnia. Some of which have side affects which can cause vivid dreams, which aren't restful.

    Thank goodness I am retired, so I can rest during the day if I have to; but I try to stay awake all day so I'm tired enough to sleep at night. I don't know how I would have managed while working & raising my kids.

    January 9, 2009 at 18:43 | Report abuse | Reply
  6. C Grant

    I read your post with interest. I have tried the all the things you mentioned along with herbal remedies such as Valerian, Estroven PM, Melatonin tablets, Chamomile tea, and warm milk. No dice. I walk 4 miles five times a week and am in great health ( other than not sleeping and feeling lousy as a result). I have a script for a sleep aid ( one sort of worked for about a year then quit, I am now on a time release drug that gives me maybe 5 hours if I am lucky). I am worried about becoming dependent on chemicals to keep me going. Any ideas anyone?

    January 9, 2009 at 20:04 | Report abuse | Reply
  7. Miriam Lester

    I am 85.5 years of age. I do not sleep. I put on the radio to go off in one hour. I sometimes listen for the whole hour and then schedule another hour. Most of the time I don't even follow or hear it.

    I try to take liquid for my pills about 4-5 p.m. so I should not have to get up to go to the bathroom. I stay up til about 11:30 and after I go to the bathroom, I go to bed.

    Sometimes I have to get up 3 or 4 times during the evening and at other times maybe just once or at 5:30 a.m. or 6 a.m. and go back to sleep until 8:30 a.m.or even 9 a.m. If I am nervous about something, like a virus on my computer or a new health issue, I find I have to urinate more frequently and that keeps me from sleeping.

    Until an issue is resolved, I am restless.

    I am usually sleepy. I don't know if it is my age or my sleeping pattern. I keep the radio on because otherwise I just lay there for maybe an hour before I sleep.

    January 9, 2009 at 21:53 | Report abuse | Reply
  8. Lauren

    I am perimenopausal and do have a more difficult time in getting enough sleep as compared to when I was younger. Nights are go to sleep, wake up, toss and turn, wake up cranky and sore all over. The only thing I know to do is to take over the counter sleep aids like Tylenol PM or even cold medicines, and while I hate to do that, I fear the addictive qualities of prescription sleep agents more. I also keep a fan blowing in my room and play a sound machine (both help!!). Meanwhile, in order to get past the inevitable brain fog when I wake up, it's "go team coffee"!! Thank goodness for Mr. Coffee! 🙂

    January 9, 2009 at 23:11 | Report abuse | Reply
  9. Carol

    I have just two or three hours of sleep every night for the past 14 years, sometimes less. when I wake up in the middle of the night, I tossed and turned on my bed and sometimes it is quite frustrating because I have to go to work. It becomes quite difficult to concentrate at my job because certain time of the day, I get very sleepy. It scares me a lot because I don't know the effect sleeplessness is having on my body. I know one thing though, I am constantly tired.

    January 9, 2009 at 23:28 | Report abuse | Reply
  10. Paige

    Hi, Val. Have you tried taking Magnesium? Also, don't drink water) before going to bed. You'll wake up and have to go to the bathroom. Good topic. p

    January 10, 2009 at 00:02 | Report abuse | Reply
  11. Ilana Smith

    I had difficulty with insomnia for most of 15 years. Most nights I slept between 4 and 5 hours. I tried several pharmaceuticals, melatonin,5htp, tryptophan, natural herbal remedies, homeopathy, acupuncture, neuro-feedback, and hypnotherapy; all with little or no helpful results. Three years ago I finally found something that has restored my ability to enjoy a restful night's sleep – Solum and Herbe Digestive Bitters. I started taking one or two droppers full mixed into a splash of water before bed time and usually sleep restfully through the night. For about a year and a half I used it almost every night; then every other night; and eventually I was able to sleep through the night without taking it. On the rare occasion when I feel restless or awake in the middle of the night and can't seem to fall back to sleep I take dropper full and ahhh... restful sleep. I have introduced this product to many people and most (more than 90%) have had great results. It's worth a try, and I hope it helps you.

    January 10, 2009 at 01:41 | Report abuse | Reply
  12. Steven Y. Park, MD

    An interesting fact about progesterone is that it is an upper airway muscle dilator. One of the muscles it has a profound effect on is your tongue. So as progesterone slowly diminishes in peri-menopause, the tongue has a propensity to fall back and obstruct your breathing, especially when you're on your back and in deeper levels of sleep (due to muscle relaxation). Many women compensate all their lives partially by sleeping on their sides or stomachs, but later on, especially if there even a little bit of weight gain, the process worsens.

    The end result is that you can't get deep efficient sleep. Inefficient sleep then promotes weight gain. Weight gain aggravate this vicious cycle. The anxiety involved aggravates things even further.

    The reason why alcohol is so bad for sleep is because of it's relaxing properties on all the muscles in your body, especially your tongue. If you drink alcohol close to bedtime, you'll fall asleep faster, but due to muscle relaxation of the tongue, you'll most likely wake up at every sleep cycle (90-120 minutes).

    January 10, 2009 at 07:35 | Report abuse | Reply
  13. Steven Y. Park, MD

    Cognitive behavior therapy is an excellent way of improving sleep quality in these situation. It can be done in person or in an online format. There's an excellent online program by Dr. Gregg Jacobs at cbtforinsomnia.com. Sleeping pills are not the answer.

    If the problem doesn't improve despite all these efforts, you should see a sleep specialist. An underlying sleep-breathing problem could explain many of your symptoms.

    Steven Y. Park, MD,

    author of Sleep, Interrupted: A physician reveals the #1 reason why so many of us are sick and tired

    http://www.doctorstevenpark.com

    January 10, 2009 at 07:41 | Report abuse | Reply
  14. Rosemary

    I have tried all types of over the counter sleeping aids. It helps the few nights and then the body gets immune to it, and then I'm back looking at the ceiling. And now that I"m almost 50 my hormones are crazy and I get no sleep at all. Sleepless in New Jersey please help.

    January 10, 2009 at 12:43 | Report abuse | Reply
  15. Dale Carter

    I'm 60, female, excellent health. When I started a consulting position last June, I immediately developed an insomnia problem.
    The reason was: I had to travel across two time zones weekly, we were required to stay at the client until 8pm each night and then expected to work at the hotel until midnight. When I started having insomnia problems, I asked the others how they dealt with it. They answered, "get drugs from your doctor".

    So sad. I wonder how much the current economic crisis is causing people to work in extremely unhealthy ways just to keep their jobs. That kind of culture seems prevalent nowadays.

    I am now self-employed and sleeping just fine.
    Anonymous

    January 10, 2009 at 16:32 | Report abuse | Reply
  16. Jessica

    I also have sleep issue. I know that part of it is my job. I open 4 days a week and then close on my last day of work, because of the hours that I work I am unable to get into a regular schedual.

    I'm not up all of the time. My symptoms remind me of a binging and purging cycle. I will sleep for 13-15 hours some days and then only 1 or 2 hours other days.

    I'm 31 years old and I don't think that it has anything to do with Menopause. I have been recently diagnosed with a hypothyroidism. The more I learn about it the more I'm finding that it may have a lot to do with my sleep pattern. If I miss medication I'm more likely to sleep all of the time. If I take my medication I can't sleep at all.

    My doctor and I are working on a finding the right dose of medication. There are many health problems that can be related to your sleep situation.

    Good luck.

    January 10, 2009 at 18:09 | Report abuse | Reply
  17. Lisa

    Sleep is the barometer for mood and anxiety levels. Chronic stress promotes higher levels of cortisol, which makes it more difficult to fall and stay asleep. In other words, sleep deprivation begets sleep deprivation. You can counteract this through regular, disciplined elicitation of the relaxation response. The best ways to do so are meditation, relaxation exercises, and physical exercise. My full article is on MommyHealthCoach.com.

    January 11, 2009 at 07:48 | Report abuse | Reply
  18. Robyn

    I have had wonderful results with bio-identical progesterone taken in a pill form prior to bed. You'll have to find an MD who specializes in bio-identical hormone replacement and have either blood or saliva lab work to determine dose. I've struggled with sleep for longer than I'd like to tell you, have tried everything listed in the blog without relief. The progesterone (from yams) is absolutely amazing.
    Good luck!

    January 11, 2009 at 09:18 | Report abuse | Reply
  19. Jane Spiteri

    I occasionally suffer from insomnia as well, however, since I've been drinking a cup of chamomile (sometimes a cookie with it) about two hours before bedtime, I sleep like a log. Try it!

    January 11, 2009 at 10:42 | Report abuse | Reply
  20. Charlene

    Last night I did not sleep at all. I am 62 years old, just a few pounds overweight by the charts, not many, less than 5, I am cheerful, have no stress to speak of, and I am past menopause. Some nights, I do sleep maybe 4-5 hours, never more. I seem to get into this pattern of 3 nights no sleep, then several more of 4-5 hours. I follow all the rules, same time to bed, same time up, cool around 61-62 degrees, dark, no exercise late, no caffeine after Noon, no alcohol. What the heck can I do? I am tired!!!

    January 11, 2009 at 13:16 | Report abuse | Reply
  21. Liz

    If you haven't slept well for several years you need to see a sleep specialist. You have chronic insomnia. If you already saw one see someone else. You may have a sleep related breathing disorder (ie sleep apnea or upper airway resistance syndrome). Once women enter into perimenopause or menopause they lose estrogen and progesterone. This may be associated with loss of muscle tone in the airway (not just everywhere else). You may also have periodic leg movements that occur while you are sleeping and don't realize it. Only a sleep study (polysomnogram) can rule these out. If you're not overweight don't think that you can't have sleep apnea. I am 5'3" and 125 pounds and have it. I insisted on a sleep study because my doctors said I didn't fit the profile.
    If a sleep study is negative the next step is evaluation by an insomnia specialist. They will do a very thorough review of all potential medical and mental healh disorders that may be causing the problem. If none are found you will start on cognitive behavioral therapy. This has been found to be the most effective treatment for insomnia. Unlike sleep medications this treatment is long lasting.
    I don't agree with the sleep specialist that said you may have an active brain and don't need the sleep. If that were true you would feel good and not be writing this blog!
    Sleep is very important and lack of it may be the cause of many of our illnesses. Take it seriously.
    Liz
    MI

    January 11, 2009 at 13:45 | Report abuse | Reply
  22. Sharon

    I am a 51-year old woman. I started having menopausal symptoms in August of 2007 and have insomnia since then. My hotflashes have been severe, to say the very least. Due to bleeding fibroids and severe abdominal cramping, I had a hysterectomy in October of 2008. Since the surgery, the hotflashes have abated perhaps 30%. I have not responded to Estrogen replacement (Evamist, the patch and Divigel). On average I sleep about 4 hours per night. The only thing that seems to help is to take Tylenol P.M. a few times per week in order to get a few extra hours of sleep but it frequently leaves me groggy because I still wake up early. I'm hopeful that this will end sometime in the near future.

    January 11, 2009 at 16:14 | Report abuse | Reply
  23. Marta

    I solved this problem several years ago. I take 1-2 caps of Benadryl every night and it never fails..I sleep like a baby. I wake up every morning at the same time, and don't feel groggy whatsoever. I don't need any prescriptions, and Benadryl even comes in a generic version. Great sleep for $5..what a bargain. Thanks Marta

    January 11, 2009 at 16:52 | Report abuse | Reply
  24. Jaycee Mayer

    I have had a tough time sleeping since I had my first child in 2001. I could hear them roll over, breathe, or sigh even from down the hall. It went on all night every night. I started a story in my head and each night I add to it, change it if i get bored, or add drama. I would always fall asleep about halfway through whatever idea I had. The reason it works I think is that I keep my eyes shut the whole time and my brain finally gets tired and turns off. It used to take me about 2.5 hours to fall asleep, now I am out in less than half an hour. I also sleep under a duvet and no sheets or blankets. They are all contributing factors to my success.

    January 11, 2009 at 19:05 | Report abuse | Reply
  25. Helen

    I'm now at the end of the cycle of sleep deprivation because of hormonal changes. It was the most debilitating aspect for me of menopause. It could seriously have caused my marriage to fail, my children to hate me, and my friends to stop coming around.
    I can honestly say that 10 years is too long to suffer. But I am not sure what would have helped. I tried all the short-term remedies, I was totally consistent about my sleep habits, and it was never enough.
    I finally realized that the radio provided me with a lovely background noise, as long as it wasn't music. I should have listened to my mother-in-law, because this was her relief too.
    Luckily, I have a spouse who could sleep through hurricanes, and as long as the radio didn't blast out a trumpet voluntary or heavy rock, he was happy to know that I was sleeping, at last.
    Now, I still have wakeful times, but they don't last as long, only an hour or so, and not as frequently. And podcasts are my salvation. The more boring, the better, although I surprise myself sometimes, by listening to them and actually learning stuff. I'm thankgul for MP3 players, and earbuds that aren't too big. And I love talk radio. CBC Radio Overnight started my ability to relax and return to sleep. And its not a comment on their programming, it was just what was available when I needed it.
    Another friend who suffers from the same issues, chose a white noise machine, and she says it works fine for her. But she sleeps in a bed and room by herself. May not be an answer for all.
    I tried the getting up and reading, watching tv, etc. It never worked. Sometimes, a different bed would work, though. But that's not always possible. Its a real problem, and probably accounts for more unhappy women than you might think possible.

    January 11, 2009 at 19:14 | Report abuse | Reply
  26. Mack D Jones, MD, SAAN

    I started waking up at 3 o'clock in the morning and couldn't go back to sleep for the rest of the night. I felt like I'd been run over by a truck the next day. After a couple of weeks of this I had an in lab sleep test done revealing obstructive sleep apnea (OSA). I was blocking my airway an average of 27 times per hour. I was prescribed a CPAP machine to keep my airway open, but it didn't work. My journey had just begun.
    I've written a booklet about my four years seeking a cure of my own sleep apnea mainly at the request of some of my former patients, students and friends. There many questions prompted me to explain exactly what OSA, is, what it can do to you and how you treat it. I made a few surprising discoveries during the ordeal. If you are interested you can check out my work in progress at http://www.stopsanow.com

    January 11, 2009 at 22:31 | Report abuse | Reply
  27. Jeannine

    I haven't slept without a sleep aid in 14 years. I ran out once for about a week, I was awake or 5 days, I was a zombie, I had a few cat naps and was found staring off(micro sleep) I've tried, lavender, sleep masks, therapy, meditation, OTC sleep aids, a routine sleep pattern, dark blackout drapes, ear plugs .... you name it I've tried it. Sometimes I just get up because I get tired of just laying there looking at the ceiling I don't know why but I just don't sleep anymore. Now I take Ambien 5 mg, at least I have a reasonable 4 to 5 hours of sleep.

    January 11, 2009 at 23:35 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Sandra

      Thank you for sharing your post. I too have the same problem. I can't go to sleep. I have Ambien as well but have been afraid to take it over 1-2 times a week. Are you taking it every night, and if so for how long have you done this. I also have Ativan but my doc told me not to take it for sleep, to take the Ambien as it was not habit forming (physically).

      August 1, 2010 at 21:45 | Report abuse |
  28. Donna

    Wow, it is nice to know that I am not alone. I have only been dealing with this since my return from Iraq in late 2005. I never had problems sleeping before then. While I was there, the stress level and the "living on edge" is what kept me from sleeping. I went for several days at a time with just cat naps. When I returned home, I still had trouble sleeping. Nightmares, awaking not knowing where I was, awaking panic stricken all played a huge part. I thought that the issue would solve itself over time. That was 3 years ago. I couldn't continue to function without sleep. I tried many other things before I began taking medication. I have been taking Ambien for 2 years now and really notice if I skip a night. I've tried to sleep without taking it. I would try that during times when I was on vacation, or had some time off from work. It has not been successful. I have had to not take my medication for a few weeks at a time due to military training and not having the luxury of staying in bed past 5 am. One thing I do know is that I am a happier person and my family is a lot calmer since I began sleeping again. I don't know if I will ever be able to sleep more than 2 hours on my own again, but until that day comes, I will be glad to take my pill and get some sleep as opposed to not sleeping and being a hazard to myself and those around me.

    January 12, 2009 at 11:54 | Report abuse | Reply
  29. Mary

    I went through early menopause as a result of chemotherapy at age 44. I had extreme hot flashes averaging every 15 or 20 minutes for about a year. I am now 52 and only occasionally have flashes. I found medicinal acupuncture helped me tremendously. My oncologist strongly recommended hormone therapy, but for a variety of reasons I opted out. I am so glad I did. My sleep has been poor since I was a child. Now I sleep from around 10:30 at night to around 5:30 or 6:00 am when I do aerobics. Now that I can sleep I feel so much better and the yoga has greatly eased my knee trouble and stiffness. I highly recommend both medicinal accupuncture and yoga.

    January 16, 2009 at 12:04 | Report abuse | Reply
  30. Henry Chan

    Thanks so much, my sleep has been poor last year ,but now i can sleep i feel so much better . When i found medicinal acupuncture helped me tremendously. this my website : http://www.tintuc5giay.com

    January 19, 2009 at 08:11 | Report abuse | Reply
  31. Krystal

    I am only 23 and I am always tired. that i know of.. i only wake up a few times in the night sometime only about 30 min before i get up( 640 for work). I explained how i've been feeling to my doctor and they check my iron levels and said it wasn't that so just to eat better and excercise more.. guess what?! i do that already!! I'm 5'3 and 127lbs – not overweight ( well i hope not). i'm glad to see im not alone as well but also dont fit into the pre- menopause group. (it was just hard enough seeing my mother go through it – not looking forward to that). I am going to go to another doctor and get a second opinion because i dont think i should be feeling this way at my age ;-(

    January 19, 2009 at 16:06 | Report abuse | Reply
  32. Sharon

    I have central sleep apnea which the sleep specialist says is different from the obstructive type but I use the CPAP faithfully and it travels with me to wherever I go. I also have fibromyalgia and congestive heart failure/cardiomyopathy which was probably caused by a virus. I take amitriptylline at night and now sleep through the night until my husband gets out of bed. I am overweight and have lost 75 pounds in the last few years by lowering my carb intake. (Another 50 to go!) I also walk on the treadmill about 30 minutes a day and do small weights. I have a busy volunteer life and am a mental health advocate. I was waking up most nights at 3 or 4 am and had to turn on the radio at a quiet level to be successful at going back to sleep. The amitriptylline has helped me sleep through the night, and I have continued to lose weight through careful carb control. My bedroom is dark and cool year round which I also think helps – too much light is also disruptive to your sleep. I also read every night before I sleep, even for a few minutes. Hope this helps someone.

    January 24, 2009 at 18:49 | Report abuse | Reply
  33. Susan

    Sleep has been a problem for me for several years–my dog sleeping on my bed has helped though–he is a miniature dog and is so loving and so trusting–more people should try dogs for comfort!

    January 25, 2009 at 23:32 | Report abuse | Reply
  34. Molly

    Ah sleep...my old nemesis. I'm a 26 year old female who has always had a problem sleeping. My parents have told me many a time that I had problems sleeping even as a child...problems that went beyond your typical "kid not wanting to go to bed" type-thing.

    Over the years it has gotten worse, and it does seem to get worse at times, then improve. I would never consider the quality of sleep that I do manage to get as good though. It is very rare that I am at all sleepy before 2am or so. I work full time, am in good health etc... However, I just cant seem to get tired. I will lay down to try and sleep and be awake for at least 2 hours. Once I do fall asleep I will normally wake up an hour or two later and not be able to fall back to sleep for quite a while.

    I have tried about everything you might be able to think of. I do not ingest food or caffiene before bed. I do not even drink alcohol at all. I am relatively active and a healthy weight. I have tried herbs, taking a hot shower before bed, reading...limiting use of my bed/bedroom strictly to sleep-only. I've taken prescription sleeping medication on and off for years. It was the only thing that ever would resolve the problem.

    But...I had to move and thus switch doctors. The newer doctor was VERY hesitant to prescribe me anything. I had to argue for her to take me seriously and finally I could get my medication. However, this doctor does not think that someone my age should have a problem sleeping. Well, newsflash, it can happen.

    Also, the fact that I have a pretty bad case of anxiety and panic disorder does not help. It is very rare that I am completely calm and relaxed...brain is always working in overdrive. I have seen plenty of therapists and done yoga and other relaxation excercises and techniques but they were only mildly effective for both the anxiety and sleeping. I am currently only taking Zoloft.

    Honestly, I am a bit disenchanted with the medical field right now after my experiences with this one doctor. I do not even want to go back to one because it seems like no one will take you seriously for a problem like this when you are a young woman. Seems to me that if you are young and complaining of a lack of sleep and are asking for medication...they think you're lying to get drugs! Its quite annoying and leads younger people such as myself to not even want to seek legitimate medical help.

    One of these days I'll find a better doctor. Until then, I'll just keep on covering up the dark circles under my eyes and memorizing every infomercial on late night TV.

    January 29, 2009 at 15:07 | Report abuse | Reply
  35. laura

    I just read this article and sounds like what I may be going through now..I'm 48 soon to be 49 and have had trouble sleeping for a while already. But after reading all of your comments, I'm so depressed.
    Is this what I have to look forward to? My doctor will be running a test on me at the end of my birth control pill cycle. I guess this is a way they can find out my estrogen level or something to determine if I'm in that "state". I missed my first period in about 13 years and it seems to be coming later and later every month..I guess I can run but I can't hide huh..
    Wish me luck..

    October 9, 2009 at 01:38 | Report abuse | Reply
  36. Beth

    I have no idea what to do. I cannot sleep. Why do i wake up about every 90 minutes at night. There has to be a medical reason. Most have said its the hormone thing. I tried to take bioidentical hrt for two months, and then in addition to Activella which I only took for three weeks because it made me itch. Both of these things whick I'm also scared to death of, made no difference in my sleep problem. So....stopped everything. Why take meds if they do no good? I do take simpy sleep and once in a great while ambien, but these are no good either. Would cammomile tea help? Also something natural so as not to harm my body? What is person that is pretty desperate to sleep to do? I hate medication of any kind. Will this go on forever, or is it just a miserable symtom of perimenopause? Can someone answer please, I am way more than tired, and afraid if it hasn't already, will impact my life and others

    January 25, 2010 at 08:35 | Report abuse | Reply
  37. Barbara

    Beth - Talk to your doctor and get a sleep study. Good luck.

    January 26, 2010 at 21:35 | Report abuse | Reply
  38. Ann

    Beth, I really feel for you. I don't know what the cause is, but dont let it go on too long. Your body needs restorative sleep or it will gradually cause you much physical and mental pain. Check some of the alternative methods. Maybe hypnosis, acupunture, may be yoga. If you are overweight, try to lose weight and try to exercise by walking sometime during the day. If you start getting little aches and pains that only seem to get progressively worse and you may feel it is attributed to age, that this as a warning sign that you need to be more active and stay ahead of the pain. I now have to wall consistently to keep my body from having the joint pain. Not have restorative sleep is responsible for my aches and pains. I do take amtriptlyne (sp?) in small doses (30mg)each night and also a 1/2 of tryazelom (sp?) and I sleep good most nights now. The Dr. does not like the Tryazelome but likes the Amtriptlyne. I refuse to go back to not sleeping, it just isn't worth it.

    January 27, 2010 at 11:59 | Report abuse | Reply
  39. Pina

    I am so sleep deprived, I cannot think straight. I am 46 yrs old and the mother of a 5 yr old and 6 yr old. Having kids in my 40's has its advantages, however not sleeping and having to look after these young children, work and maintain a life while walking around like a zombie is no fun at all. I have thyroid disease and take levothyronxin to regulate it. I am on the Mirena IUD now and wonder if this perhaps could be affecting my sleep patterns even though everything I have read about it indicates that is not so.. I am in the process of getting hormone levels tested..really, I am at the end of my rope.

    February 3, 2010 at 21:55 | Report abuse | Reply
  40. Patricia

    It is possible this woman is being deliberately sleep-deprived. There are documented cases of people in America who are harassed by the government for some crime they believe was committed. In an effort to force the suspects to talk here are some of the torture techniques applied to their suspects: Airborne chemical stimulants poured into the home via AC vents, small computer chips placed inside the bed or pillow – shocking or jolting awake the person sleeping just moments prior to REM sleep taking place, knocking on windows & shining flashlights into the bedroom area. Initially the target keeps waking up wondering why. When the target figures it out and goes to the police, the police are told not to take reports leaving the victim/suspect with nowhere to turn. Most victims of this abuse wind up completely innocent – it's just a torture technique to get people to talk or "give up information." The people who engage in these practices are sadists which is why they take these jobs – it pays well. I denounce all of them. If you have a sleep problem, leave the United States & you will find you will get your 8 hours with no problem. I did. I never slept better.

    July 6, 2010 at 23:42 | Report abuse | Reply
  41. Sandra

    I am 62 and have had insomnia off and on since I had my first child in 1971. Usually a stress related even will throw me into the insomnia pattern. Two months ago my mother had to be placed in a nursing home due to a broken hip. I was her caregiver for 4 years and my sister was for the past 2 years. I've always been the one in the family that everyone looks to, to take care of problems or to try and fix everything. I can do it anymore. I have a prescription for Ambien and didn't take it that much until the most recent stressor. I've been taking 1/2 of one about 2-3 times a week now. I worry about sleep aids like this, as I don't want to become dependent on them . Does anyone know if taking one every night for a month or so would be ok. I feel my stress issues will resolve but not sure how long it will take. I'm tired – tired of taking care of the problems in my family and tired of not getting enough rest. HELP. Anyone have the same problem.

    August 1, 2010 at 21:54 | Report abuse | Reply
  42. Faithful CPAP User

    I'm not sure what the original purpose of the article was–I guess she came to the conclusion that she had insomnia. Well I started out with a panicky feeling prior to going to sleep. I would wake up just as the good Dr Mack Jones above feeling like I'd been run over by a truck. That had gone on for several years at least once per night. I'd go back to sleep for a few hours and that was that. So the symptoms began adding. I eventually couldn't go to sleep for fear I might not wake up for four nights in a row. I went to the ER. I had not been to a Dr for about 10 years and had not previously diagnosed heart blocks (arryhthmias). I had at least two blocks on my EKG.

    So that was about a year ago. I'm now 51, perimenopausal. Despite not being obese, being very active and not tired during the day, I was eventually diagnosed with OSA (Obstructive Sleep Apnea). I received my CPAP machine in February and it took me about 10 days to be fully compliant. My pressure is at 8–which is fairly low–I think my machine can go up to 30 or so. Despite that, I no longer fall asleep on the couch, if I do I wake up fairly quickly after simply nodding off, I seem to panic and then feel as though I can't swallow. On a separate note, I have developed panic attacks and have recently started taking inositol, which makes all the difference in the world.

    It's unfortunate that women and sleep apnea isn't really what this article is about. I'm fairly sure my mother had it. As kids we used to wake her up from a nap when she was not breathing. Who knew. I'm sure it continued into her adult life and beyond. There's a very good podcast with Dr Mack Jones on Dr Park's website. And his oddyssey is horrific, and he's a NEUROLOGIST for crying out loud. How is the average person, especially a woman to figure it out.

    I consider my CPAP machine my lifeline. I drink maybe a cup of coffee per day. If I drink any caffeine in the afternoon I'm sunk for the night. My goal is to keep it religiously at one cup of coffee in the morning for a month or so and see how I do.

    Also, what led me to insist on a sleep study was a research article I read about men with a certain arrythmia (just like mine) and who eventually were fitted with pacemakers. They had not been previously diagnosed with sleep apnea. Something like 80% were diagnosed during the study. I took it to my cardiologist wanting the sleep study before all the other stuff and he poo-pooed my thoughts. I had the sleep study last.

    Persistence paid off in my case. Oh, and I had done an overnight take-home study before that. Bottom line–I have been through an ordeal, fortunately CPAP has been a godsend for me. The panic attacks are still lingering, but with inositol and drastically cutting caffeine, I have hope!

    October 17, 2010 at 10:22 | Report abuse | Reply
  43. Andy

    I'm 47.Fir the last 10 yrs I haven't slept through the night. I have no problem going to sleep, but I wake up around 4 or 5 and then toss and turn for the next 3 hrs so I never get good sleep. I'm Sooooo sick of this!

    October 23, 2010 at 10:31 | Report abuse | Reply
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    I have insomnia bad, I'm 51 . I'm up til 3 every nite , if I have my hip pain . If I take an eleve they keep me up , I don't know wats in them . I take a sleep pill 40 mg. n an Advil pm n 2 zanex, I still can't sleep ,wat else could I do

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