The term ‘menopause’ refers to the natural ending of a woman’s menstrual cycle. Physicians usually diagnose menopause after a female patient has not experienced a menstrual period for 12 months. According to the latest estimates, roughly 29 million women between the ages of 45 and 64 experience menopause each year. This figure constitutes one-fifth of the U.S. workforce.
Although menopause is a natural biological process, it can bring about unpleasant side effects that negatively impact sleep quality and duration. These include persistent hot flashes and other physical symptoms, as well as emotional issues that make falling and/or staying asleep more difficult. A wide variety of medications and treatments are available for women with menopause, but those who experience extreme sleep problems may find relief by selecting the right mattress.
This guide will explore the different ways that menopause affects sleep, as well as buying tips for first-time mattress shoppers and our picks for the top-rated mattresses for women with menopause.
How Menopause Affects Sleep
According to the Mayo Clinic, menopause typically occurs due to one of the following reasons:
- Age: Women’s bodies begin to produce less hormones (namely estrogen and progesterone) beginning in their late 30s, which causes their fertility to decrease. Menstrual periods usually become shorter, infrequent, and less pronounced in their early 40s. When menopause sets in, the woman’s body will stop producing eggs and they will no longer experience menstrual periods.
- Hysterectomy: The term ‘hysterectomy’ refers to medical removal of a woman’s uterus, as well as her ovaries in some cases. Hysterectomies that remove the uterus only will not result in menopause right away; the woman will no longer experience periods, but her body will still release eggs and produce menstruation hormones. Hysterectomies that remove the uterus and ovaries will result in immediate menopause, and the woman may begin to experience unpleasant symptoms once the surgery is finished.
- Chemotherapy/radiation therapy: In some cases, cancer treatment therapy will induce menopause earlier than intended. Women may experience hot flashes and other symptoms during or after their treatment. However, the menopause may not be permanent — and some women continue to take birth control to avoid unwanted pregnancies.
- Primary ovarian insufficiency: Roughly 1% of women will experience menopause before the age of 40, and this is often due to a condition known as primary ovarian insufficiency. This condition is characterized by ovaries that do not produce enough reproductive hormones, and may be caused by genetic factors and/or autoimmune diseases. Hormone therapy may be prescribed for these women to ensure their brain, heart, and bones are protected until they reach a more suitable age for menopause.
The period leading up to menopause is known as ‘perimenopause.’ Women may experience the following symptoms during perimenopause.
- Irregular menstrual periods
- Vaginal dryness
- Hot flashes and/or chills
- Night sweats
- Sleep onset and/or sleep maintenance problems
- Weight gain
- Thinning hair
- Excessively dry skin
- Mood swings
Additionally, women who have undergone menopause are considered at higher risk for the following:
- Cardiovascular disease: Declining estrogen levels are linked to an increased risk of heart and blood vessel disease. Cardiovascular disease is already the leading cause of death for women, so women who have experienced menopause should consult their doctor about ways to protect their heart and lower their blood pressure.
- Osteoporosis: Osteoporosis is a condition that causes the bones to become porous, making them more brittle and susceptible to breaking. Women are at greater risk of losing bone density in the years following menopause, which can lead to osteoporosis. Additionally, postmenopausal women are more prone to fractures in the wrists, hips, and spine.
- Incontinence: Menopause can cause tissue in the vagina and urethra to lose its elasticity. As a result, postmenopausal women may experience the need to urinate frequently, and may also experience involuntary urination (or urge incontinence) when they perform normal activities like sneezing or lifting objects. Incontinence may also lead to a stronger need to urinate at night.
- Discomfort during sex: Because vaginal dryness often occurs with menopause, postmenopausal women may experience discomfort — and in some cases, bleeding — during sex. They may also feel their sex drive decline.
- Weight gain: A significant number of women gain weight after menopause. The average woman will gain 10 pounds during menopause.
Treatment options for women with menopause include:
- Hormone therapy: Estrogen therapy can be beneficial because it helps reduce hot flashes. Therapy techniques often depend on whether or not the patient still has her uterus.
- Vaginal estrogen: Estrogen may be applied to the vagina using a topical cream or applicator. This can help alleviate vaginal dryness.
- Medications: Physicians may prescribe low-dose antidepressants known as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) to minimize hot flashes. Other medications that alleviate hot flashes include Gabapentin (often used to treat seizures) and Clonidine (often used to treat high blood pressure). Medications to treat osteoporosis may be prescribed, as well.
Additionally, women may address symptoms of perimenopause or menopause in different ways, including the following measures:
- Diet: A balanced diet for women with menopause should include high-protein foods such as eggs, legumes, and lean meat, as well as fish with Omega-3 fatty acids (like salmon) and vegetables. Likewise, they should avoid overly sugary or fatty foods.
- Exercise: Running, cycling, and other cardio workouts can help women minimize the symptoms of menopause. Strength training and core-building workouts (such as yoga) may also be beneficial.
- Massage: A proper massage from a licensed professional will improve blood circulation and provide feelings of relaxation that can combat stress.
This guide should not substitute for medical care. If you are experiencing symptoms at any stage of menopause, please contact your physician to discuss treatment measures that are right for you.
How the Right Mattress Can Help Menopausal Women
Taking all of these symptoms and side effects into account, the following mattress qualities are important considerations for women with menopause:
- Durability: When discussing mattresses, ‘support’ refers to the evenness and stability of the sleep surface when it bears weight. Lack of support is strongly linked to sleeper discomfort, and an unsupportive mattress may exacerbate the physical symptoms of medical conditions that lead to sleep difficulty (such as menopause). All mattresses develop sagging and indentations over time, causing them to lose support, but certain mattress types — such as latex, hybrid, and airbed models — typically remain supportive longer than others.
- Temperature neutrality: Most women will experience hot and/or cold flashes during menopause (and may experience them afterward), so a mattress that offers temperature neutrality is important. These mattresses absorb less body heat than others, allowing them to sleep cool during warmer months but not feel too cold when the outside temperatures drop. Innerspring and hybrid mattresses tend to sleep the coolest, since their support cores are not made of solid material and have better air circulation. Latex models may also sleep cooler. Foam mattresses, on the other hand, tend to sleep somewhat hot. The mattress cover may also be an indicator for how hot or cool it sleeps.
- Motion isolation: When someone shifts positions while sleeping or gets into or out of bed, this creates motion transfer that may be felt in other areas of the mattress. Some mattress types, such as latex and all-foam models, absorb motion and isolate transfer to certain parts of the bed. These models can be beneficial for postmenopausal women who share a bed with a partner, as nighttime trips to the bathroom may disrupt their partner’s sleep.
- Odor potential: Heightened sense of smell often occurs with menopause. Most mattresses will produce chemical smells when they are new (a phenomenon known as ‘off-gassing’). All-foam mattresses tend to produce off-gassing odors that are stronger and more persistent, and this may also be an issue with innersprings and hybrids with thick foam layers. Latex is associated with some off-gassing, but not as much.
- Noise: Women are prone to noise sensitivity during the perimenopause phase, and a loud mattress can lead to major sleep disturbances. Airbeds tend to produce the most noise. Innersprings can also be fairly loud, but hybrids — which also contain metal springs — may be quieter due to foam layers and fabric encasements around the coils. All-foam and latex models are, in most cases, virtually silent when bearing weight.
The following table grades each of the five most common mattress types based on these five factors.
|Mattress Type||Memory Foam||Latex||Innerspring||Hybrid||Airbed|
|Support Rating||Fair||Very Good||Good||Very Good||Very Good|
|Temperature Neutrality Rating||Poor||Good||Very Good||Very Good||Fair|
|Motion Isolation Rating||Excellent||Excellent||Poor||Good||Fair|
|Odor Potential Rating||Poor||Good||Very Good||Good||Fair|
|Overall Score for Menopausal Sleepers||Fair to Good||Very Good||Fair to Good||Good to Very Good||Fair|
As the table shows, latex and hybrid mattresses tend to be the best option for women who are experiencing menopause, as well as postmenopausal sleepers.
Important Considerations for Mattress Shoppers
For women who are experiencing perimenopause or menopause, as well as postmenopausal women, the following factors are important to keep in mind when selecting a new mattress and comparing different brands and models:
- What is your mattress budget? As we’ve mentioned above, latex and hybrid mattresses tend to be the best choice for women at different stages of menopause. These mattresses are typically $1,500 or higher for Queen-size models, also some brands offer them at much lower price-points. Other mattress types, such as foam and innerspring models, tend to be much cheaper — but not as suitable for women experiencing menopause or postmenopause symptoms.
- Has menopause caused you to gain weight? Heavier people have different sleep considerations than lighter people. For one, they typically need mattresses that are firmer; excessively soft mattresses may sink too deeply, which can compromise support and lead to aches and pains for sleepers. Heavier people may also prefer mattresses with lower profiles, since they are easier to get on and off of than taller mattresses.
- Are you experiencing hot flashes? Hot flashes are most common during perimenopause and menopause. A mattress that absorbs minimal body heat and sleeps relatively cool will be much more comfortable for women experiencing hot flashes.
- Are you experiencing nighttime incontinence? If you share a bed with someone and make frequent trips to the bathroom during the night, then a mattress that absorbs and isolates motion will help reduce sleep disruption for your partner.
- Has menopause caused your sense of smell to heighten? Expect odors from all mattresses, but keep in mind that mattresses with thick foam layers tend to produce the strongest, longest-lasting smells.
- Do you have a sensitivity to noise? The general rule of thumb is that mattresses with springs are louder and more disruptive than those without springs. However, hybrid mattresses typically have each coil wrapped in fabric that suppresses noise to a significant extent; hybrids also sleep cooler and offer better support than most other mattress types.
- Does the mattress come with a sleep trial? Most mattresses sold today offer some sort of sleep trial period, lasting anywhere from 30 nights to more than one year. Purchasers can usually return the mattress for a full or partial refund before the trial period expires. Women experiencing menopause symptoms are urged to take advantage of sleep trials before committing to one model in order to test out different options.
- How long does the mattress warranty last? A mattress warranty may last anywhere from five years to more than 25. More important than the overall length is the length of nonprorated coverage, which allows owners to repair or replace their mattress at little to no charge. During the prorated phase, owners must pay a percentage of their original mattress price to have their model repaired or replaced. Some mattress warranties last 20 years or longer but only provide two to three years of nonprorated coverage — so be sure to read the fine print.
Best Mattresses for Menopause: Brands and Models
Now let’s look at the best mattresses for menopause according to the people who use them. The following six models have earned the highest satisfaction ratings from customers and owners who either have experienced menopause or share their bed with someone who has experienced menopause. To learn more about these brands, please click the links to our review pages in the top row of the table.
|Brand||Avocado||Leesa||Nest Bedding||Sleep on Latex||Tomorrow Sleep||Zenhaven|
|Model||Avocado Green||Sapira||Alexander Signature Hybrid||Pure Green Natural Latex Mattress||Tomorrow Mattress||Zenhaven Mattress|
|Mattress Type||Latex hybrid||Hybrid||Hybrid||Latex||Hybrid||Latex (flippable)|
|Cost (Queen)||$1,399 (no pillow top)|
$1,799 (pillow top)
|Firmness Options||Medium (pillow top)|
Medium firm (no pillow top)
|Side 1: Medium soft|
Side 2: Firm
|Thickness Options||11″ (no pillow top)|
13″ (pillow top)
|11″||13 1/2″||7″ or 9″||10″||10″|
|Temperature Neutrality Rating||Good||Very Good||Good||Good||Good||Very Good|
|Motion Isolation Rating||Good||Good||Good||Good||Very Good||Good|
|Odor Potential Rating||Good||Fair||Good||Good||Good||Good|
|Sleep Trial||100 nights||100 nights||Lifetime (full refund if returned within 100 nights)||100 nights||365 nights||120 nights|
10 years nonprorated
|Tuck Customer Satisfaction Rating||76% (678 customer reviews)||75% (386 customer reviews)||78% (322 customer reviews)||86% (1,428 customer reviews)||77% (498 customer reviews)||80% (924 customer reviews)|
Additional Strategies for Sleepers with Menopause
Finding the right mattress can make a world of difference for women experiencing symptoms of menopause. Additionally, the following measures can help ensure they receive enough sleep night after night:
- Avoid caffeine, sugar, tobacco products, and alcohol before bed. These substances can exacerbate menopausal symptoms, but even in non-menopausal adults they can negatively affect sleep onset and sleep maintenance.
- Turn down the temperature in your bedroom. The optimal temperature will vary from person to person, but most feel comfortable in rooms heated between 60 and 65 degrees Fahrenheit (15 to 19 degrees Celsius).
- Use a bedside fan. In addition to keeping you cooler, fans can also block outside noise that disrupts sleep.
- Sleep nude or semi-nude. If you don’t feel comfortable sleeping naked, consider clothing made of breathable natural fibers like cotton or lightweight wool.
- Stay hydrated. Keep a glass of water on your bedside table to remain properly hydrated (and cool) during the night.
- Invest in cool bedding accessories. Sheets and pillowcases made of cotton tend to sleep cooler than those made of synthetic fibers like polyester. If your mattress is too warm but you don’t want to invest in a new one, a cooling mattress topper or mattress pad made of wool or latex may help you sleep at a more comfortable temperature.
Additional Tuck Resources
For more information on mattresses and bedding accessories for people with different medical conditions, please visit the following pages on Tuck.com: