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April 15, 2009 > Sleep Disorders and Menopause

Sleep Disorders and Menopause

Physician To Discuss Treatment Options at Upcoming Lecture

Sleep is a basic human need, as important for good health as diet and exercise. Sleep lays the groundwork for a productive day ahead. If you frequently toss and turn all night and wake up feeling tired, you are not alone. According to the National Institutes of Health, more than 70 million people in the United States may be affected by sleeping disorders.

"We all have an occasional sleepless night but studies show that menopause may also be a cause of common sleep disorders, such as snoring and sleep apnea," says Dr. Nitun Verma, medical director of the Washington Township Center for Sleep Disorders. "New research in sleep medicine focuses on women's health and how menopause affects sleep."

Verma cites a sleep study that was performed by the Department of Population Health Sciences at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. According to the study, researchers found that postmenopausal women had approximately three times more sleep-disordered breathing events per hour of sleep than premenopausal women.

"This study also found that perimenopausal (also known as menopause transition) and postmenopausal women were twice as likely to be unhappy about their sleep after menopause," adds Dr. Verma.

On Tuesday, April 21, Dr. Verma will discuss how menopause can affect a woman's sleeping habits at a sleep disorders discussion at the Washington Women's Center. During the lecture, he will outline some of the common sleep problem symptoms associated with menopause such as hot flashes, insomnia and fatigue.

"During the upcoming lecture, I will emphasize good sleep hygiene and share some tips on how to deepen your sleep so that it makes it feel more refreshing," says Dr. Verma. "I want to help women do everything they can to combat natural sleep obstacles such as hormonal changes and hot flashes."

How does menopause affect a woman's sleeping habits?

During the course of perimenopause through menopause, a woman's ovaries gradually decrease production of estrogen and progesterone. The shifting of ratios of hormones can be an unsettling process, sometimes contributing to the inability to fall asleep.

"Women should feel comfortable discussing their sleep problems with their healthcare providers to sort out the many contributing factors," says Dr. Verma. "I'm looking forward to answering as many questions as possible during the lecture and steer people in the right direction for possible treatment."

Get the facts

Join Dr. Verma at the "Sleep Disorders and Menopause" discussion on Tuesday, April 21 from 7 to 8 p.m. at the Washington Women's Center Conference Room, located at 2500 Mowry Avenue, Suite 145 (Washington West) in Fremont, across the street from the main hospital. To register for this free seminar, call Washington Hospital's Health Connection line at (800) 963-7070.

For more information about the comprehensive diagnostic, treatment and educational programs available at the Washington Women's Center, visit, click on "Services & Programs," and choose "Women's Health" from the drop-down menu.

Washington Hospital Now Hosting Sleep Disorders Support Group

Do you wake up in the morning feeling tired? Do you snore? If so, you could have sleep apnea, a sleep disorder that keeps you from getting a good night's rest. Lack of sleep can seriously impact your health. Yet millions of Americans walk around each day half asleep or worse - suffering from chronic illnesses - because they aren't getting enough sleep.

To help improve the quality of life of children and adults affected by sleeping disorders, a new monthly support group is now being conducted at Washington Hospital. The AWAKE (Alert, Well and Keeping Energetic) Support Group is for patients and family members with Obstructive Sleep Apnea or anyone who is interested in learning more about sleep disorders.

"Sleep apnea is a common problem, but unfortunately it often goes undiagnosed and untreated," says Dr. Nitun Verma, medical director of the Washington Township Center for Sleep Disorders. "Only one in 10 people with obstructive sleep apnea get help so the goal of this group is to help spread the word about sleep apnea and connect local patients to education and support services."

During the first meeting, Dr. Verma will help facilitate nasal CPAP (continuous positive airway pressure) equipment checks with a licensed respiratory therapist and help patients get used to using these devices.

"The support group meetings will have a workshop format," says Dr. Verma. "People will have an opportunity to share their experiences with people that suffer from similar conditions and receive valuable information from experts in the field of sleep apnea."

The first AWAKE Support Group for Sleep Disorders session will take place on Wednesday, April 22 from 11 a.m. to Noon at the Conrad E. Anderson, M.D. Auditorium, Room A, located at 2500 Mowry Avenue (Washington West) in Fremont. The first session will also include a raffle with prizes. Future sleep support meetings will take place the fourth Wednesday of every month with times alternating between 11 a.m. to Noon and 6 to 7 p.m. Call (510) 744-6726 for more information.

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