Sleep disturbances comparable to insomnia are extraordinarily frequent, particularly in ladies after menopause. Based on knowledge from the Nationwide Institutes of Well being, sleep disturbance varies from 16% to 42% earlier than menopause, from 39% to 47% throughout perimenopause, and from 35% to 60% after menopause.

Insomnia is a severe medical drawback outlined by frequent problem falling or staying asleep that impacts an individual’s life in a destructive manner. Hormone modifications round menopause can result in sleep issues for a lot of causes, together with altering sleep necessities, elevated irritability, and sizzling flashes.

What menopausal ladies eat might have an effect on their threat of growing insomnia

Researchers just lately checked out detailed dietary knowledge from over 50,000 postmenopausal ladies (common age 63) enrolled within the Ladies’s Well being Initiative research between 1994 and 2001. Carbohydrate consumption was measured in a number of methods: glycemic index (GI) and glycemic load (GL), measures of added sugars, starch, whole carbohydrate, and dietary fiber, and particular carbohydrate-containing meals comparable to entire grains, processed or refined grains, entire fruits, greens, and dairy merchandise. They then checked out every participant’s threat of growing insomnia after three years of follow-up.

They discovered that the danger of growing insomnia was higher in ladies with a higher-GI food regimen, in addition to in ladies who included extra added sugars of their food regimen. Added sugars included white and brown sugar, syrups, honey, and molasses. The danger of growing insomnia was decrease in ladies who ate extra entire fruit and veggies.

The researchers accounted for and adjusted for a lot of doubtlessly confounding elements, together with demographic (schooling, earnings, marital standing), behavioral (smoking, alcohol, caffeine consumption, bodily exercise), psychosocial (stress, social connection), and medical elements (physique mass index, numerous medical diagnoses, hormone remedy, loud night breathing).

What’s the glycemic index of meals, and the way might this have an effect on sleep?

The glycemic index (GI) is a rating of meals on a scale from zero to 100 in accordance with how a lot they increase blood sugar ranges after consuming them. I’ve written beforehand about planning meals with data of the GI and the glycemic load of meals. Excessive-GI meals are these which are quickly digested, absorbed, and metabolized, and trigger spikes in blood sugar and insulin ranges. Some examples of high-GI meals embrace something made with processed grains (bread, pasta, baked items, white rice) and something containing added sugars (sugary drinks, sweets).

Low-GI meals don’t trigger your blood sugar and insulin ranges to spike, and embrace plant meals comparable to most fruit and veggies, legumes and beans, nuts, seeds, and entire grains. Even plant meals which have a excessive GI — comparable to bananas and watermelon — aren’t doubtless “unhealthy” for you when eaten moderately.

Researchers hypothesize that high-GI meals trigger insomnia due to the fast spike after which crash of blood sugar ranges. Basically, what goes up should come down, and after blood sugar and insulin ranges peak, they have an inclination to drop, which might trigger a number of signs, together with awakening from sleep. The researchers of this new research cite a number of research supporting this idea.

Diet is important for thus many features of our well being, together with sleep

Limitless analysis connects the standard of our food regimen with our threat for coronary heart illness, strokes, dementia, despair, and most cancers. This new analysis notes that food regimen may also impression our threat for sure sleep issues. It’s not nearly consuming the clearly wholesome meals, but in addition about avoiding the clearly unhealthy meals.

So how will you apply these findings?

Along with working towards good sleep habits, listed here are some further methods postmenopausal ladies can incorporate what we’ve got discovered from this research to sleep higher (and be all-around more healthy):

  • Go for low-GI meals as a lot as doable. This implies aiming to eat fruit and veggies, beans and legumes, nuts and seeds, entire grains, and lean protein as a substitute of something made from processed grains or with added sugars. Suppose plain yogurt with berries and nuts as a substitute of cereal or bagels for breakfast; an enormous plate of roasted greens and grilled salmon as a substitute of pasta and meatballs for dinner.
  • By no means eat giant meals near bedtime. As a basic rule, a big meal ought to be eaten not less than three to 4 hours earlier than mendacity down, possibly extra. You don’t want to go to mattress with a number of meals in your intestines!
  • If you must have a bit of one thing nearer to bedtime, keep away from sugars and processed grains. A sliced apple with a bit of almond butter; some blueberries and nut milk; or possibly hummus and carrots. These are all well-balanced, plant-based snacks.


Insomnia: Definition, Prevalence, Etiology, and Penalties. Journal of Medical Sleep Drugs, August 2007.

Nationwide Institutes of Well being State-of-the-Science Convention Assertion: administration of menopausal signs. Annals of Inner Drugs, June 21, 2005.

Excessive glycemic load and glycemic index diets as threat elements for insomnia: analyses from the Ladies’s Well being Initiative. The American Journal of Medical Diet, December 11, 2019.

Sleep Issues in Postmenopausal Ladies. The Journal of Sleep Issues and Remedy, August 2015.

About Glycemic index. The Boden Institute of Weight problems, Diet, Train and Consuming Issues and Charles Perkins Centre on the College of Sydney.

The put up Menopause and insomnia: Might a low-GI food regimen assist? appeared first on Harvard Well being Weblog.


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