Magazine article Clinical Psychiatry News

Chronic Insomnia Affects One-Third in Perimenopause

Magazine article Clinical Psychiatry News

Chronic Insomnia Affects One-Third in Perimenopause

Article excerpt


LAS VEGAS -- Sleeplessness is both common and distressing for women in midlife, according to an analysis of data from a large observational study.

One-third of women at all stages of the menopausal transition reported sleep disturbance that met the clinical criteria for insomnia, regardless of many markers of health and socioeconomic status, Colleen L. Ciano, Ph.D., reported at the NAMS 2015 annual meeting.

Acute insomnia is prevalent in adults, and women are known to suffer more than men from chronic insomnia. Perimenopausal women, in particular, may have increased sleep disturbances.

Dr. Ciano, a postdoctoral fellow at the University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, and her colleagues used data from the large, longitudinal Study of Women's Health Across the Nation (SWAN) to ascertain insomnia's prevalence in perimenopausal and surgically menopausal women.

Using SWAN study data, Dr. Ciano also attempted to tease out factors that might increase a woman's risk for chronic insomnia.

SWAN, said Dr. Ciano, was designed to examine the health of midlife women, gathering data from 3,302 women with a mean age of 45.9 years. Ten years of study data are now available from an ethnically diverse sample of women participating at seven sites across the United States.

Four questions from the SWAN questionnaire were identified for analysis as dependent variables. The questions related to trouble falling asleep, nighttime wakings, early-morning wakings, and a subjective rating of sleep quality over a 2-week period. Women were stratified into early or late menopause, or surgical menopause.

More than one-third of women at all stages of the midlife transition, or who were in surgical menopause, reported diagnosable insomnia, Dr. Ciano reported.

On the whole, insomnia increased for women over the study period.

Waking after sleep onset also increased for perimenopausal women as they moved through menopause, from 26% to 36%.

Sleep quality, as a bifurcated measure of sleep quality derived from a four-point scale, also dropped over the study period.

During the SWAN data collection period, the number of perimenopausal women who met at least one of the American Academy of Sleep Medicine criteria for insomnia rose from just over 30% to just over 40%, while the number of women who reported no insomnia symptoms fell steeply, dropping from just under 70% to approximately 50%. …

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