Sleep disturbances such as insomnia are extremely common, especially in women after menopause.

According to data from the National Institutes of Health, sleep disturbance varies from 16% to 42% before menopause, from 39% to 47% during perimenopause, and from 35% to 60% after menopause.

Insomnia is a serious medical problem defined by frequent difficulty falling or staying asleep that impacts a person’s life in a negative way. Hormone changes around menopause can lead to sleep problems for many reasons, including changing sleep requirements, increased irritability, and hot flashes.

Researchers recently looked at detailed dietary data from over 50,000 postmenopausal women (average age 63) enrolled in the Women’s Health Initiative study between 1994 and 2001. Carbohydrate intake was measured in several ways: glycemic index (GI) and glycemic load (GL), measures of added sugars, starch, total carbohydrate, and dietary fiber, and specific carbohydrate-containing foods such as whole grains, processed or refined grains, whole fruits, vegetables, and dairy products. They then looked at each participant’s risk of developing insomnia after three years of follow-up.

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