Nightmares, cardiac symptoms and the menopause

Climacteric. 2003 Dec;6(4):314-20.


Objective: To analyze the relationship between nightmares, some cardiac symptoms and the menopause in 40-64-year-old women.

Methods: A general health questionnaire study was carried out in 3669 randomly selected women (out of 6000 invited) in the County of Jämtland, Sweden. Questions were asked about the state of health, cardiac symptoms (irregular heart beat and spasmodic chest pain), sleep, nightmares, menstrual status and medication.

Results: Eighty-one per cent of the women reported a good night's sleep. Nightmares at least once weekly occurred in 10.4%. The prevalence of spasmodic chest pain and irregular heart beat increased with increasing number of nights a week disturbed by nightmares. The prevalence of spasmodic chest pain and irregular heart beat was increased after the menopause. In a multiple logistic regression analysis, independent correlates for spasmodic chest pain were: nightmares at least once a week versus more seldom or never (odds ratio (OR) 2.3; 95% confidence interval (CI) 1.2-4.5), sleep, poor versus good (OR 1.8; 95% CI 1.0-3.3) and postmenopausal state (OR 6.6; 95% CI 2.8-15.4). Independent correlates for irregular heart beat were: nightmares (OR 2.0; 95% CI 1.4-2.8) and poor sleep (OR 2.5; 95% CI 1.9-3.2), but not menopause.

Conclusion: The occurrence of perceived spasmodic chest pain and of irregular heart beat is increased in 40-64-year-old women with frequent nightmares and poor sleep. The occurrence of spasmodic chest pain is further increased after the menopause.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aging / physiology
  • Arrhythmias, Cardiac / epidemiology
  • Arrhythmias, Cardiac / physiopathology
  • Chest Pain / epidemiology*
  • Chest Pain / physiopathology
  • Depression / epidemiology
  • Dreams / psychology*
  • Female
  • Health Status
  • Humans
  • Hypnotics and Sedatives / administration & dosage
  • Logistic Models
  • Menopause / physiology*
  • Menopause / psychology*
  • Middle Aged
  • Sleep Initiation and Maintenance Disorders / epidemiology
  • Sleep Initiation and Maintenance Disorders / physiopathology
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Sweating / physiology
  • Sweden / epidemiology


  • Hypnotics and Sedatives