Study objective: Assess objectively measured sleep quality in premenopausal, perimenopausal, and postmenopausal women.
Design: Observational epidemiology study.
Participants: Probability sample of 589 premenopausal, perimenopausal, and postmenopausal women recruited from state employee records.
Measurements and results: Menopausal status was determined by menstrual history, surgical history, and use of hormone replacement therapy. Sleep quality was objectively measured by full in-laboratory polysomnography and by self-reported sleep problems. Linear and logistic regression were used to estimate associations adjusted for potential confounding factors.
Objective: Sleep quality was not worse in perimenopausal or postmenopausal women, compared with premenopausal women. To the contrary, postmenopausal woman had more deep sleep (16% vs 13% stages 3/4, P < 0.001) and significantly longer total sleep time (388 minutes vs 374 minutes, P = 0.05). Menopausal status was moderately related to self-reported dissatisfaction with sleep but was not consistently associated with symptoms of insomnia or sleepiness.
Conclusions: Menopause is not associated with diminished sleep quality measured by polysomnography. Although perimenopausal and postmenopausal women, relative to premenopausal women, were less satisfied with their sleep, menopause was not a strong predictor of specific sleep-disorder symptoms. Symptoms and signs of sleep abnormalities in midlife women should not be attributed primarily to menopause before ruling out underlying sleep disorders.