Connecting the Dots – PCOS, Insomnia, & Sleep Apnea
More than 10 million women worldwide are affected by PCOS or Polycystic Ovary Syndrome. And now, we know how to alleviate the symptoms, but sleep problems often persist and make those symptoms worse.
Those symptoms, some of which include weight gain, infertility, fatigue, acne, thinning hair, headaches, and mood swings, plague the daily lives of these women with many challenges. But did you also know that people who have this health condition are more likely to get a poor quality night’s sleep than those who don’t?
PCOS is linked to sleep disorders like insomnia and sleep apnea. Yes — the emotional stress you’re experiencing from having this complex disorder and the other physical and psychological distress that comes with it aren’t the only reasons you spend so many nights tossing and turning. The fact that PCOS itself is closely related to various sleep disturbances is based on actual studies and extensive research.
PCOS & Insomnia
Insomnia is commonly known as a sleep disorder wherein a person has trouble falling or staying asleep. The root cause of insomnia in women with Polycystic Ovary Syndrome is insulin resistance, which is a condition that leads to issues with glucose synthesis.
All of these may leave you scratching your head. So, let’s break it down to make the link between insulin resistance and sleeplessness easier to understand.
Insulin resistance is a condition where a body works extra hard to absorb glucose from the bloodstream. The body of a person with PCOS experiences difficulty in keeping blood glucose levels in the normal range. These glucose fluctuations will then make you feel exhausted but unable to sleep, as your body’s fight-or-flight response is triggered. This will literally keep you up at night.
Several studies have also revealed that insomnia leads to obesity. Obesity, in turn, may lead to PCOS sleep apnea.
PCOS & Sleep Apnea
Sleep Apnea is a sleep disorder where your airway constricts during sleep, leading to brief episodes of stopped breathing. It is also characterized by chronic snoring, which is the most common symptom considering that 70% to 95% of people with sleep apnea regularly snore. And since this condition prevents a person from getting a full night’s rest, women with PCOS sleep apnea often feel tired and experience mood swings, difficulty focusing and completing a task, and excessive sleepiness during waking hours.
This is a serious condition that may require you to seek the help of professionals. If left untreated, sleep apnea can lead to further complications such as heart disease, lower pain tolerance, and weight gain, among many others.
How to Deal with Sleep Disorders & Get That Much-Needed Shut-Eye
It’s important to take note that if your PCOS and sleep disorders are depriving you of an uninterrupted night’s rest, seeking the help of an expert and getting treated are still the best option for you. In the meantime, it definitely wouldn’t hurt to try these easy ways to improve the quality and quantity of your sleep, presented in this comprehensive infographic:
Go to sleep and wake up at the same time every day, including weekends.
Have aerobic exercise 3-4 times a week, as late as 3-4 hours before bedtime.
Practice a moderate amount of relaxing activities before sleep.
Satisfy your tummy with a small snack no later than 45 minutes before sleep.
Make your bedroom dark, quiet, cool, and with only a small dose of “white noise” in the background.