Earlier this week I touched on the importance of a good night’s sleep — a recurring theme around here, since good sleep is the foundation of good health.
Well, as any woman who is approaching or has gone through menopause knows, good sleep is not a given. Even before periods stop, sleep disturbances often become familiar. Not only because of the hot flashes that wake women up in the middle of the night, but because the hormonal shifts related to menopause are themselves sleep disruptors.
And disrupted sleep causes problems that go way beyond daytime drowsiness. They can lead to headaches, mood swings, metabolic changes — even dementia. And a new study just pointed out yet another, potentially deadly risk.
The study, which was just presented at the North American Menopause Society (NAMS) 2016 Annual Meeting found that poor sleep was linked to atherosclerosis in women transitioning to menopause.
Shorter sleep duration and poor quality sleep were linked to a buildup of plaque particularly in the carotid arteries — two arteries in the neck that supply blood and oxygen to the brain.
The women in the study ranged from 40 to 60 years of age. They didn’t smoke, didn’t work the night shift (a known sleep disruptor), and had no history of clinical cardiovascular disease (a very important twist to this study).
In other words, these weren’t women you’d expect to have atherosclerosis.
The investigators found that sleeping less was associated with significantly higher odds of carotid plaque — up to twice as much as women who slept more. Those who slept less were an average of 1.5 times more likely to develop carotid artery disease. In addition, poor quality sleep was significantly associated with more plaque in the carotid arteries.
If this study proves true and poor sleep and poor cardiovascular health go hand in hand, it could be a major breakthrough in fixing the heart disease epidemic our country is experiencing.
This is just more evidence that getting a good night’s sleep is essential. And if you’re not getting it — especially if you’re a woman nearing or going through menopause — you need to tell your doctor.
Heck, sleep is so important every doctor should be asking about it anyway. But if they aren’t, make sure you bring it up — no matter the original reason for your visit. I see many patients who don’t sleep well. But since they typically come to me for other reasons, I might never know about their sleep problems if I didn’t ask.
Unfortunately, most mainstream physicians will simply whip out their pad and scribble out a prescription for Ambien in response to any mention of insomnia. But before you hit the pharmacy out of sheer desperation, you should know that there are better, safer, more effective options.
Quite honestly, I don’t think we spend enough time focusing on how to get enough sleep without drugs. Which is why I’ve made it one of my primary missions to keep stressing the dangers of poor sleep quality, and telling you how to get better sleep naturally.
In fact, sleep is such a crucial component to your general health and well being, I recently launched an in-depth protocol that can help you get the quality sleep your body needs to function at peak performance.
My protocol offers simple solutions for strengthening your body’s natural Sleep Signal, which will help you get to sleep faster, and stay asleep longer — without dangerous sleeping pills.
But even more importantly, I also give you detailed, step-by-step advice that will help you get to the root of any sleep problems you may be experiencing — and solve them for good.
Whatever you do, please don’t ignore your sleep problems or “learn to live with” them. This study is yet another reminder that your health depends on deep, restorative sleep.
So if you haven’t already, I encourage you to check out my Perfect Sleep Protocol and enroll today.