Getting a good night’s sleep complicated by menopause

New study demonstrates increase in sleep disorders as women transition from perimenopause to postmenopause

CLEVELAND, Ohio (December 18, 2019)–The value of a good night’s sleep can’t be underestimated. Unfortunately, sleep complaints are common during the menopause transition. A new study from Canada compared sleep quality, sleep duration, and sleep disorders between postmenopausal and pre/perimenopausal women and documented increased sleep problems postmenopause. Study results are published online today in Menopause, the journal of The North American Menopause Society (NAMS).

Sleep disorders are one of more common complaints during menopause, affecting 40% to 60% of perimenopausal and postmenopausal women. Not only do they impair a woman’s quality of life, but they also can lead to major health problems such as cardiovascular disease, diabetes, depression, and anxiety.

Multiple specific sleep disorders are also age related, including obstructive sleep apnea, periodic leg movements during sleep, rapid eye movement sleep behavior, and change in the normal sleep cycle. Although multiple studies have already examined age-related sleep problems, few considered the effect of menopause status. This new study involving more than 6,100 Canadian women sought to demonstrate how sleep was affected as a woman progressed through the menopause transition.

Researchers confirmed that, compared with premenopausal and perimenopausal women, postmenopausal women required more time to fall asleep (in excess of 30 min) and were more likely to suffer from sleep-onset insomnia disorder and obstructive sleep apnea.

Study results appear in the article “Effects of menopause on sleep quality and sleep disorders: Canadian Longitudinal Study on Aging.”

“This study highlights links between menopause and insomnia and obstructive sleep apnea. Given the known associations with poorer health, sleep problems should be identified and addressed in menopausal women,” says Dr. Stephanie Faubion, NAMS medical director.

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The authors have prepared a video summary of this article, which can be found at https://journals.lww.com/menopausejournal/pages/videogallery.aspx.pdf

For more information about menopause and healthy aging, visit http://www.menopause.org.

Founded in 1989, The North American Menopause Society (NAMS) is North America’s leading nonprofit organization dedicated to promoting the health and quality of life of all women during midlife and beyond through an understanding of menopause and healthy aging. Its multidisciplinary membership of 2,000 leaders in the field–including clinical and basic science experts from medicine, nursing, sociology, psychology, nutrition, anthropology, epidemiology, pharmacy, and education–makes NAMS uniquely qualified to serve as the definitive resource for health professionals and the public for accurate, unbiased information about menopause and healthy aging. To learn more about NAMS, visit http://www.menopause.org.

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Eileen Petridis
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