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Insomnia and Sleeplessness with PCOS

Posted on November 13, 2019

Do you have trouble sleeping at night? You’re not alone. Members of myPCOSteam say frequent tossing and turning at night makes them feel irritable, foggy, and unable to function the next day. Physical pain, anxiety and depression may be to blame for lack of shut eye, but sleep apnea, excess weight, and certain medications can also play a role.

Sharing experiences and solutions with a community of women who “get it” has helped many members get the proper diagnosis, treatment, and often, a good night’s sleep.

Could It Be Sleep Apnea?
Sleep apnea - a disorder in which a person stops breathing for short periods of time during sleep - is a hot topic among members of myPCOSteam, where some women first learn about the condition. PCOS is considered a risk factor for sleep apnea.

“Has anyone here been diagnosed with sleep apnea? If so, what were the signs?” asked one woman. “I keep waking up feeling like I can’t breathe. When I’m having a bad day, I wake up randomly panicked and taking a gasping breath. I don’t know if it’s stress and anxiety, or if I should see my doctor.”

Members urge others who suspect they have sleep apnea, to get a sleep study test. If diagnosed, a CPAP (Continuous Positive Airway Pressure) machine may be recommended.

“I’ve had PCOS for 15 years. I started using a CPAP machine one year ago, and it has changed my life as far as sleep goes,” shared another woman, echoing the experiences of others with the sleep apnea. “I’d check into it. It’s not as bad as you might think, and if you do have a sleep issue, it can affect so many things.”

Treatment Side Effects
MyPCOSteam members taking Metformin say it has impacted their sleep. Some report increased sleeplessness since starting the medication. “Only today, I learned about a link between Metformin and insomnia. I don't think this is the main cause of my irregular sleep patterns but may be a contributing factor,” shared one woman. Others say they actually sleep better: “It’s been almost two weeks since I’ve been on Metformin and birth control. I’ve definitely seen the change. I’m not so tired or grumpy...no more insomnia!!!!”

What Helps myPCOSteam Members Sleep
Tried-and-true relaxation techniques, such as meditation, exercise, hot showers – and prescription sleep medications in a pinch - help many get to sleep. Members also recommend the following:

  • Lavender: This essential oil is high members’ lists of sleep-boosters. “I’d use a lavender bath bomb before bed, since the drop in temperature from a bath apparently helps you sleep,” shared one.
  • Supplements: Magnesium supplements are a popular sleep-boosters among members. “I take magnesium in the evening. It knocks me out and keeps me sleeping better than anything else I’ve tried,” shared one woman. Members also report success with melatonin, which regulates the body’s sleep cycles: “Getting sleep is hard for me because I have insomnia, so I take 10 mg. of melatonin,” wrote one. Talk to your doctor before using supplements to improve your sleep.
  • Herbal Teas: Sipping chamomile, “Sleepytime,” and other calming teas is also a favorite pre-bedtime ritual.
  • Cannabis and CBD: Many members use Cannabis and Cannabidiol (CBD) products – where legally available – to help relieve PCOS symptoms including insomnia. “Smoking marijuana helps me get to sleep at night because of anxiety,” shared one woman. “I tried CBD oil on the weekend and it definitely helped me sleep (best sleep I’ve had in a long while),” shared another.
  • Sleep Apps: One favorite is Sleep Cycle. “You just turn on the app and set it next to your bed to track sleep quality. You can also add variables to see what improves or negatively affects your sleep,” wrote one woman.
  • Device Control: Shutting down cell phones, computers, and TVs before bed is a popular approach to better sleep. Those who use devices at night recommend “blue light filtering glasses. I used them two hours before bed and they help a lot,” said one. Another noted: “I started using night mode on my phone to remove blue light after 7:30 pm.”

One member, a “mental health therapist” who “treats insomnia regularly,” reminded women of good sleep hygiene tips: “Avoid napping, use the bed for sleep and sex only, keep a regular sleep schedule, no clock watching, sleep in a cool room below 70 degrees, avoid alcohol three hours before bed, and no caffeine after 12 noon.”

On myPCOSteam, the social network and online support group for those living with PCOS, members talk about a range of personal experiences including coping with insomnia and other sleep disturbances

Here are some conversations related to insomnia and sleep problems:

Have another topic you'd like to discuss or explore? Go to myPCOSteam today and start the conversation. You'll be surprised how many others share similar stories.

A myPCOSteam Member said:

I fall asleep very easily but dont stay that way i am up at least 4 times a night and i aparrently snore ( a big sign of sleep apnoea) i can drop off to… read more

posted 6 months ago

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