Sleep disorders in menopause: results from an Italian Multicentric Study

Arch Ital Biol. 2015 Jun-Sep;153(2-3):204-13. doi: 10.12871/0003982920152345.


Menopause in the female life cycle is a special period due to important hormonal, physical and psychological changes. Sleep disruption represents a common complaint for midlife and menopausal women, related to primary sleep disorders, including insomnia, sleep disordered breathing, restless legs syndrome (RLS), mood and anxiety disorder, other medical illness, hormonal-related vasomotor symptoms, and aging per se. Aims of our study were to evaluate the prevalence of sleep disorders in a sample of pre and post menopausal women, and to investigate the relationship between sleep and other medical disorders, and life habits. Among workers in the six participant centers, we enrolled 334 women, aged between 40 and 60 years, that completed a questionnaire that included screening on menarche, menstrual cycle, fertility, parity, menopause, life habits, personal medical and sleep history and related treatment, and self-administered scales for sleep quality (PSQI), excessive daytime sleepiness [Epworth Sleepiness Scale (ESS)], mood disorder [Beck Depression Inventory (BDI)], Berlin Questionnaire for sleep disordered breathing (SDB), IRLS diagnostic interview and Rating Scale. Menopausal and perimenopausal women showed an increased prevalence of poor sleep, high risk of SDB, and mood disorder; menopausal women also reported increased RLS severity. Mood disorder had a significant impact on night sleep measures and excessive daytime sleepiness, as well as on RLS severity, and had a greater prevalence in hypertensive women. Sleep disturbances are frequent in menopausal women. Their aetiology is unclear, but probably multifactorial, and many factors contribute to the sleep disruption. Our data suggest the importance of correctly investigate and address sleep problems associated with menopause, through sleep history, and a sleep study could be obtained if clinically warranted. Pharmacological and behavioural treatment strategies should then be aimed at improving sleep and life quality in perimenopausal and menopausal women.

Publication types

  • Multicenter Study

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Menopause*
  • Middle Aged
  • Sleep Wake Disorders / epidemiology*