Many of us in the peri/post menopausal transition list lack of sleep as one of our most distressing symptoms. I know until I got my hormones optimized, many nights I was sleeping less than 3-4 hours a night, and they certainly weren't all in a row! The hormone fluctuations make women tired to begin with, and night sweats also disrupt sleep, so it's a wonder we can function at all during this time. Prescription sleep aids have their own set of problems (addiction being one of them--believe me, I know, I had a terrible time getting off them), and the sleep you get from sleeping pills is often not what is called a "good sleep", more of a drugged state.
This article from PsychCentral.com discusses a study that finds sleep deprevation can affect the immune system, much in the same way as physical stress (I consider sleep deprevation/chronic fatigue to be a physical stress!) This is not something to fool with, or to feel like you shouldn't discuss it with your doctor because it isn't "important". Sleep deprivation can cause a myriad of physical issues (obesity, diabetes) and can also be a safety issue ------- many car accidents are at least in part caused because of poor reaction time by drivers, falling asleep at the wheel, etc. Sleep deprivation is part of the success of Starbucks!