Posted on Dec 13, 2023, 10 a.m.
Article courtesy of Dr. Joel Kahn, MD, who is a Clinical Professor of Medicine at Wayne State University School of Medicine, one of the world's top cardiologists, a best-selling author, lecturer, and a leading expert in plant-based nutrition and holistic care.
The easiest way to assess sleep is to measure how many hours of sleep were achieved but that may not be the only measure that matters. Menopause can be particularly disruptive for sleep for many women.
In the American Heart Association's Life’s Essential 8 (LE8) the only measure of sleep duration. Whether other measures of sleep quality predict cardiovascular health (CVH) or illness has been studied recently.
Participants were 291 women (n=98 pre-, n=94 peri-, n=99 post-menopausal, mean age=50 yrs.).
Standardized questionnaires on sleep quality were administered to the subjects.
Half of the women slept <7 hours/night, 79% reported poor sleep quality, one-third had high-risk sleep apnea (OSA) phenotype, and 51% reported insomnia.
Compared to pre-menopausal women (67%), significantly more post- (83%) and peri-menopausal (86%) women reported poor sleep quality. Women with poor sleep quality had 3-fold higher odds of poor overall CVH score.
Women with high-risk OSA phenotype had ~3-fold higher risk of poor overall CVH scores.
Poor sleep quality was associated with greater odds of low scores on the diet component.
High-risk OSA phenotype was associated with greater odds of poor scores on the blood pressure, blood glucose, and BMI components.
Multiple aspects of sleep other than duration were associated with overall CVH scores among women across menopause. Women approaching, in the middle of, or through menopause, should be very aware of their sleep quality.
Prior studies show roughly half of women going through menopause report trouble sleeping, particularly difficulty staying asleep or waking up too early. The risk for sleep apnea, which may be related to hormonal changes and weight gain, also increases during this period of a woman's life. Obstructive sleep apnea, the most common type, occurs when blocked airways cause breathing to stop and start, preventing the body from getting enough oxygen to feel rested.
The first step is to see a healthcare professional or sleep specialist to identify the problem, and usually, a home sleep study should be performed. Home sleep studies are now widely available and accurate.
Many sleep problems can be prevented or improved by adopting good sleep practices, such as allowing yourself sufficient wind-down time at night, creating a dark, sleep-friendly environment, reducing stress, caffeine, nicotine, and alcohol, increasing light exposure and exercise, during the day and setting a regular bedtime and wake time. For more severe problems such as insomnia, cognitive behavioral therapy or, if necessary, medication can help.
About the author: At his core, Dr. Joel Kahn believes that plant-based nutrition is the most powerful source of preventative medicine on the planet. Having practiced traditional cardiology since 1983, it was only after his own commitment to a plant-based vegan diet that Dr. Kahn truly began to delve into the realm of non-traditional diagnostic tools, prevention tactics, and nutrition-based recovery protocols.
As with anything you read on the internet, this article should not be construed as medical advice; please talk to your doctor or primary care provider before changing your wellness routine. This article is not intended to provide a medical diagnosis, recommendation, treatment, or endorsement.
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