Sleep Disruption in Postmenopausal Women

Written by yvonnethornton on July 18th, 2013

Do you experience difficulty sleeping? If so, then you are not alone. More than a third of individuals report that they face some difficulty sleeping that leaves them tired throughout the day, whether that is insomnia, discomfort during sleep, or patterns of sleeping and waking in the middle of the night. An individual might have difficulty sleeping for any number of reasons, whether it is simply the fact that they are too busy to get the rest that they need or whether it is the result of some more severe issue related to emotional distress or anxiety. However, a new study suggests that sleep difficulties might be heightened in postmenopausal women.   A person should receive between 71/2 and 8 hours of uninterrupted sleep a day.

In this study, both premenopausal women and postmenopausal women were asked to keep a diary tracking their typical sleep patterns across a two-week period. The results showed that postmenopausal women did show a lessened ability to get the recommended amount of sleep throughout the night. When compared to these women’s workday and leisure day schedules, it also showed that postmenopausal women were more likely to lose sleep related to the stresses of their workday.  Consequently, postmenopausal women had less than 7 hours of sleep compared to their premenopausal counterparts who slept about seven and one-half hours.

It can be easy to brush off studies like these, or to think that you’ll simply make up the sleep later if you are one of those that regularly experiences sleep problems. However, there is more than enough evidence available to suggest that losing sleep could lead toward much bigger problems down the line. Despite the potential risks of going without sleep, insomnia and related issues are still one of the most underreported medical problems that many people, and especially women, face. Be sure that if you are experiencing sleep difficulties, you speak to your doctor about them—especially if these sleep difficulties are concurrent with any other life changes, whether they are medical or emotional.

– Yvonne S. Thornton, M. D., M. P. H.


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