Sleep Problems? Estrogen Might Not Help
Stress Could Be a Factor
Indeed, the aging body does work less efficiently. These
changes affect blood flow, lung function -- even sleep, says Wissam Chatila,
MD, a sleep disorders specialist and professor of medicine at Temple University
School of Medicine in Philadelphia. He agreed to comment on Lukacs' study.
"There's no reason sleep should be any different,"
Chatila tells WebMD. "But I'm not 100 percent convinced that estrogen
decline doesn't play a role in sleep quality. Estrogen therapy has made a
difference for many women."
Everyday life stressors may also play a role, he says. "It
may be that older women have more of this than younger women. Also, what was
the women's sleep quality on the nights before? You don't really know unless
it's carefully monitored. We often find that people overestimate the amount of
sleep they get."
He advises insomniacs to:
- Set a regular sleep schedule.
Avoid caffeine late in the afternoon and evening.
Avoid heavy, spicy meals.
Don't exercise late in the day.
Don't use a radio or television in the bedroom.
Use a white-noise machine to keep the bedroom peaceful and
Wear lightweight, comfortable sleepwear.
Make sure your mattress is comfortable.
Carefully regulate the temperature.
Don't take over-the-counter sleep medications regularly.
"Prescription medications have their role," Chatila
tells WebMD. "But they need to be taken under medical supervision, and are
only given for specific circumstances - when there are medical or psychiatric
problems, like pain or anxiety.
"For many people, sleep problems are a symptom of an
underlying disorder," he adds. "The approach should be to diagnose that
problem and treat it, that rather than treating the symptom of