Relationships under strain - Menopause and BPH causing sleepless nights

Posted on: 15 December 2009 by Mark O'haire

Menopause symptoms and benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH) are two conditions affecting many older Britons.

During the day, symptoms are an annoyance to be tolerated - at night, however, they can result in lack of sleep for both you and your partner - and put a strain on your relationship. Here, Dr Neil Stanley talks about common sleep complaints in the over 50s and offers some simple solutions.

When we become adults our nightly sleep need becomes fixed; it is individual - like height - anywhere from about four to 11 hours is considered normal so it’s important to get the right amount of sleep for you, so you feel awake and refreshed during the day.

As we age, it is the make-up of sleep that changes. Deep sleep decreases, which is the most refreshing and restorative stage of sleep, so we feel less satisfied with our sleep than when we where younger. Another important consequence of the reduction in deep sleep is that we are more easily awoken during the night and as we get older there are more things that can wake us.

Disturbed Sleep

Pain from any source can create disturbed sleep, causing difficulty in getting to sleep as well as staying asleep. Menopausal pain and temperature control - such as hot flushes, headaches and joint pain - can also be implicated in sleep disturbance. Night sweats can be particularly disruptive and many women wake during the night hot and bathed in sweat.

The need to get up to go to the toilet frequently during the night is often said to be the most bothersome sleep disturbance in both men and women. Conditions like Over Active Bladder and enlarged prostate produce the need to get up to urinate during the night, and poor sleep results both in waking up and struggling to fall back to sleep once you have been to the toilet.

Snoring noise can be very annoying during the night and can cause poor sleep both in the listener as well as in the snorer. Many people relocate to the spare room during the night to get a better night sleep.

Conditions that disturb sleep can have negative consequences for our physical and mental health and it’s important that these are pro-actively managed. For medical problems the most important thing is to get the appropriate treatment from you doctor but there are some things that you can do to help, such as properly relaxing before bed and making the bedroom and bed as comfortable as possible.

For instance Alpaca duvets may be good for older men and women. Made from Alpaca wool, they contain microscopic air pockets that provide thermal insulation when it’s cold, and allows air to flow when it’s hot, this may help alleviate sleep disturbances caused by poor circulation or overheating.

Remember - sleep well, live better.

More information on Menopause and BHP

Neil-Stanley-photoAbout The Author

Dr Neil Stanley is a leading authority on sleep and resident sleep expert for online sleep shop www.welovesleep.co.uk

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