WESTPORT, CT (Reuters Health) – Menopausal women often report poor sleep quality, but a report published in the September issue of Obstetrics and Gynecology indicates that the problem is also common among premenopausal women and that it is tied to low estradiol levels.
Dr. Michelle Battistini and colleagues, from the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia, followed 436 women for 2 years to determine the prevalence of poor sleep and the hormonal and behavioral factors associated with the problem. Sleep quality was assessed at baseline and at 8, 16, and 24 months. At final followup the women were 37 to 49 years old.
Approximately 17% of women at each assessment period reported poor sleep, the authors state. Women who reported poor sleep had a greater incidence of hot flashes, higher anxiety and depression levels, and greater caffeine consumption than women who reported sleeping well. Among women 45 to 49 years of age, lower estradiol levels were significantly associated with poor sleep (p = 0.006).
"Whereas menopausal women commonly report poor sleep, women in this study had regular menstrual cycles at the study onset, and most continued to have regular cycles" during the study period, the researchers note. "It was therefore surprising to identify the association of lower estradiol levels with poor sleep in the oldest age group," they add.
"It is possible that hormone therapy may be helpful earlier in the menopausal transition than is currently the practice," the investigators state. "Future research might include a randomized, controlled trial to evaluate the effect of estrogen treatment on poor sleep in women aged 45 and older."