How Menopause Could Affect Your Sleep

Menopause transition may be tied to more sleep disruptions before women's periods

(RxWiki News) The transition into menopause can be a trying time in some women's lives — and it may even affect their sleep.

A new sleep study found that women in the early stages of menopause may have trouble sleeping in the days leading up to their menstrual period.

“Menstrual cycle variation in hormones is one piece in the overall picture of sleep quality in midlife women,” said lead author Fiona C. Baker, PhD, of the Center for Health Sciences at SRI International in Menlo Park, CA, in a press statement.

During menopausal transition, a woman’s hormone levels gradually change until she no longer has a menstrual period.

In the years leading up to menopause, women’s periods become less regular. Women may also experience hot flashes and mood changes during this time.

This study looked at how menopausal transition affected sleep.

Dr. Baker and team studied 20 women in menopausal transition for this small sleep study. The study patients slept in a lab twice — once before their menstrual periods and once shortly after they ended.

Women had more restless sleep in the days leading up to their periods, Dr. Baker and team found.

During this time, women had more interruptions in sleep and spent less time in deep sleep.

This was “likely an effect of progesterone,” a hormone the body produces in higher quantities after an egg is released and before a woman’s period starts, Dr. Baker and team said.

“This research can lead to a better understanding of the mechanisms behind sleep disturbances during the approach to menopause and can inform the development of better symptom management strategies,” Dr. Baker said.

This study was published June 16 in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism.

The National Institutes of Health funded this research. Dr. Baker and team disclosed no conflicts of interest.


Review Date: 
June 16, 2015