Objective: To obtain data on sleep quality in women attending menopause clinics in Italy.
Design: A cross-sectional study was conducted on the sleep quality of postmenopausal women attending a network of first-level outpatient menopause clinics in Italy for general counseling about menopause or treatment of its symptoms. Eligible for the study were women observed consecutively during the study period with natural or spontaneous menopause. All participating centers enrolled women into the study who had never used hormone therapy (HT) (group 1, 819 women), current users of transdermal estrogens with or without progestins (group 2, 819 women), and current users of oral estrogens with or without progestins (group 3, 790 women). The women were asked about their quality of sleep using the Basic Nordic Sleep Questionnaire, their quality of life using the Short Form-12 questionnaire, and the intensity of hot flushes using a visual analogue scale.
Results: Women in groups 2 and 3 tended to report difficulties in sleeping less often than those in group 1. For example, never users of HT more frequently reported sleeping poorly and needed more time to sleep or had problems falling asleep; these differences were significant (P < 0.05). Otherwise, no difference emerged from the Basic Nordic Sleep Questionnaire between women in groups 2 and 3.
Conclusions: This study gives support to the suggestion that HT improves the quality of sleep. The effect was similar in women taking oral or transdermal therapy with or without progestins.