Experts believe millions of women are sleep-deprived. While it is well-recognized that women are more predisposed to insomnia, a new study suggests the time around menopause, called the perimenopausal period, place women at even greater risk for insomnia.
The study, presented at the 2015 Annual Meeting of the North American Menopause Society (NAMS) earlier this month, suggests that perimenopause will affect roughly 500 million women within the next decade — that’s a lot of tired and perhaps sleepy women.
What’s worse is that the study found that insomnia symptoms are likely to get worse and more prevalent in the later stages of perimenopause (the transition period to menopause).
In fact, the odds of having any one symptom of insomnia were 1.3 times greater for those in late stage versus early stage of perimenopause. The odds of developing chronic insomnia were 1.5 times greater for those in perimenopause than pre-perimenopause.
“We found that there was a lot of research regarding insomnia in general but very little that addressed the insomnia trajectory in one of the higher risk groups of women — those transitioning to menopause,” said Dr. Colleen Ciano, lead author of the study.
The most common sleep-related complaints include difficulty falling asleep, waking after sleep onset, and sleep quality. Of the 3,302 study participants, more than one-third suffered from insomnia, reporting “awakenings” as the most frequent insomnia symptom.
“Given the strong link between insomnia and such poor health outcomes as heart disease and obesity, this study offers valuable insight for physicians who are treating middle-aged patients and considering various preventative treatment options,” said Dr. Wulf Utian, NAMS’ executive director.