Here Are Some Reasons You Can’t Sleep: Q&A with Dr. Hall

Dr. Prudence Hall Answers questions to some of the most challenging and frustrating issues associated with not being able to sleep.

How many hours of sleep is realistic and okay for the average busy young woman? Eight just seems like a hard number to reach.

Dr. Hall: 8 hours is still the healthy amount of sleep needed to restore the body. The busier a person is, the more important sleep becomes. We spend our energy during the day and restore it during sleep. Sleep is when the body detoxifies itself and the endocrine glands rebalance, so get your sleep!

What causes insomnia and how can it be treated? 

Dr. Hall: Insomnia is due to three major categories: hormonal deficiencies, our thoughts and emotions, and structural physical problems. The hormonal deficiencies causing insomnia are low estrogen from the birth control pill, perimenopause and menopause. In men, low testosterone is a cause of insomnia. When our adrenal glands are depleted or imbalanced due to stress, insomnia is also a common symptom.  Drinking alcohol at night also causes insomnia, as do many antidepressants and medications.

How do our menstrual cycles and menopause impact our sleep patterns?

Dr. Hall: Right before a woman’s period, her estrogen levels fall causing insomnia. Insomnia due to low estrogen is intensified as a woman goes into menopause. In fact, one of the classic symptoms of menopause is awakening around 2 or 3 AM and not being able to go back to sleep.

Is it true that women with sleeping issues during pregnancy are more likely to have postpartum depression?

Dr. Hall: I have not observed this as a cause of post partum depression in my patients. Post partum depression is caused by the precipitous drop of estrogen after birth, and also declines in thyroid hormones due to the iodine deficiency. However, sleep deprivation is certainly a common symptom of post partum depression.

Sleep apnea is often looked at as a man’s disease, but many women have it too. How does it come about and how can it be treated?

Dr. Hall: Sleep apnea is one third less common in women than men, but is still a common cause of insomnia. Low estrogen in menopause or perimenpause can lead to loss of muscle tone in the neck and soft pallet, causing sleep apnea. Treatments include loosing weight, avoiding alcohol, quitting smoking, replacing your deficient hormones with bioidentical hormones, exercise and a C-pap machine.

3 thoughts on “Here Are Some Reasons You Can’t Sleep: Q&A with Dr. Hall”

  1. I am 58 years old and my hormones have been nicely balanced for the last year. Then one day I started waking up at 1 am every night with what seems like a night sweat sensation without sweating. This can go on continuously for almost an hour. After it subsides, I am wired and awake and can’t get back to any type of deep or restful sleep for the rest of the night. And I feel anxious. I have tried upping my estrogen a bit but, that doesn’t help or change anything. This has been going on for about a month and I am exhausted. What might be causing this? I haven’t been drinking alcohol and I have been getting plenty of exercise, yoga and meditation.
    Thank you.

    1. Hi Jeannie, Please give our office a call at 310-566-6688 so we can talk about your symptoms in more detail! We’re so sorry you’re feeling this way.

      Hall Center

  2. Hi – I live in Sydney Australia and wonder is my only option of having a consult is to schedule if I am coming to US for holiday?
    I’m 52 and haven’t been sleeping for 7 years – falling asleep instantly, but cannot stay asleep longer than 3 hours. Sometimes I have even only had 2 hours sleep – then pushed myself to get through a working day (I’m a single person with a mortgage) – so can’t just take time off for something that is so chronic. I know that I have done extreme damage to myself living this way – but economically am not able to live nearer to work, have a longer commute etc… like many people can’t always live in the best side of town. I’ve also lost 2/3rds of my hair which makes me upset and angry.
    The good news is that I will be made redundant soon, and may be able to pay off the remainder of my mortgage (freeing myself from a prescribed life somewhat) – and even though I can see this on the horizon, unfortunately, my body is still agitated at night. I’m not terribly bothered by hot flashes.
    Is the only way to have a consult/work up to physically come to your office?
    Kind regards and thanks for reading.

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