Posted on Mar 15, 2018, 9 p.m.
During menopause sleep disruptions are among the most common complaints. A study conducted by researchers at the University of Illinois has found that sleep problems vary across the stages of menopause, being slightly different for each woman, yet are consistently correlated with that of depression and hot flashes.
Findings suggest that addressing those risk factors may help sleep disruptions giving hope to women that sleep symptoms may not last past menopausal transition. Sleep issues are one of the most common reason menopausal women seek medical assistance as it is a huge burden on quality of life, but it is also a huge burden on health care making investigation of underlying causes very important.
Data was analysed from the Midlife Women’s Health Study involving 776 women aged in the age group of 45-54+ for a 7 year time frame. The participants provided annual blood samples and survey for the use of tracking sleep patterns and disruptions, as well as other menopausal symptoms and hormonal levels as the participants transitioned from pre to post-menopause. Tracking of poor sleep was done by asking questions about the frequency of sleep disturbances, insomnia, and restless sleep.
No correlation was found between the likelihood of reporting poor sleep before menopause, during, and after. Meaning that women that reported sleep problems changed as they were transitioning to different stages of menopause, such as reporting insomnia during was not more likely to have insomnia after.
Analyzing data for any other symptoms and factors that may be associated with poor sleep it was found that depression and hot flashes were strongly associated with poor sleep across all stages of menopause transitioning. These 2 risk factors varied in reporting frequency across all stages, which may help explain why poor sleep also varies.
Self reporting is not as precise as a clinical sleep trial but is more useful because it is more accurate to their experience. This study is hopeful for most women as it suggests that sleeping patterns may change but it may not be permanent.
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