Changes in sex steroids affect sleepIn a study conducted by a team led by principal investigator Mary Fran Sowers, PhD, professor of epidemiology at the University of Michigan, postmenopausal women had longer sleeping time and tend to sleep deeper than pre-menopausal women. This is due to the changes in the follicle stimulating hormone (FSH) found in the body. FSH levels are normally low during childhood and high after menopause. Faster FSH changes were associated with slow wave sleep and longer sleep duration. It was also associated, however, with poorer self-reported sleep quality.

The investigators found that the rate of change in FSH due to menopause transition is mainly the predictive factor of women’s sleeping patterns. These changes occurred and were measured during a seven-year period.

Furthermore, it was noted that women who are nearing the final stages of their menopause cycle have longer uninterrupted sleeping time than those in the early stages of their menopause cycle.

Furthermore, there were some studies presented that provide evidence of improvement in the sleep quality of post menopausal women with the use of hormone replacement therapy. This proposal for therapeutic use, however, can only relieve selected aspects of sleep quality and is not an overall solution for this particular issue.

According to Medical News Today:

Sixty-seven percent of women included in the sleep study were classified as premenopausal (no change in menstrual bleeding regularity) and early perimenopasual (menses in the preceding three months with an increase in bleeding irregularity), 21 percent were identified as late perimenopasual (menses in the previous 12 months, but not in the previous three months), and 11 percent were classified as postmenopausal (12 months of amenorrhea). The median age was 52 years and median body mass index (BMI) was 28 kg. Women slept for a median of nearly six-and-a-half hours per night of the study with a median 40 minutes of wakefulness following sleep onset.