A few days ago we talked about sleep apnea and a general effect it has on women. Now I think it’s important to talk about sleep apnea and its effect on the menstrual cycle. As we said before sleep apnea is a sleep disorder that occurs when a person’s breathing is interrupted while they’re sleeping. So how does this affect our cycles?
During part of the follicular phase of the menstrual cycle the upper airway mucosa, or airway lining, becomes engorged resulting in reduced airway diameters. This may result in an increased chance of scoring positive for obstructive sleep apnea. In another part of the menstrual cycle (luteal phase) sleep apnea can become less severe as progesterone levels are increased. This creates stability in the airway and increases respiratory drive and response to oxygenation changes. Women have biological conditions, like the menstrual cycle, pregnancy, and menopause, that all have an enormous effect on our sleep patterns. This is because of the changing of hormones.
Delayed sleep-wake phase disorder (DSP) is a circadian rhythm disorder that consists of a typical sleep pattern that is “delayed” by two or more hours and women with DSP are more likely to report having irregular periods. Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) is a common and serious sleep disorder that causes you to stop breathing during sleep. The airway repeatedly becomes blocked, limiting the amount of air that reaches your lungs. This type of sleep apnea is more common amongst women during menopause.
Not only does the menstrual cycle affect our sleep, but now we know that having sleep apnea can also affect our menstrual cycle. If you’re having issues with your sleep see your physician and find out everything you can, Beautiful! To learn more, please follow Black Girl Health on Instagram and our blog. If you would like to be a vendor the Black Girl Health Kickstart Expo, visit our website. Tickets are now on sale for the Black Girl Health Kickstart Health & Wellness Expo, visit here to purchase.