Purpose of the study: To compare the prevalence and cardiometabolic health impact of sleep disturbance among postmenopausal Veteran and non-Veteran participants in the Women's Health Initiative (WHI).
Design and methods: The prevalence of five categories of sleep disturbance--medication/alcohol use for sleep; risk for insomnia; risk for sleep disordered breathing [SDB]; risk for comorbid insomnia and SDB (insomnia + SDB); and aberrant sleep duration [SLD]--was compared in 3,707 Veterans and 141,354 non-Veterans using logistic or multinomial regression. Cox proportional hazards models were used to evaluate the association of sleep disturbance and incident cardiovascular disease (CVD) and Type 2 diabetes in Veterans and non-Veterans.
Results: Women Veterans were more likely to have high risk for insomnia + SDB relative to non-Veteran participants. However, prevalence of other forms of sleep disturbance was similar across groups. Baseline sleep disturbance was not differentially associated with cardiometabolic health outcomes in Veteran versus non-Veteran women. Risks for SDB and insomnia + SDB were both linked to heightened risk of CVD and diabetes; SLD was consistently linked with greater risk of CVD and diabetes in non-Veterans but less strongly and consistently in Veterans.
Implications: Efforts to identify and treat sleep disturbances in postmenopausal women are needed and may positively contribute to the attenuation of cardiometabolic morbidity risk. Increased awareness of women Veterans' vulnerability to postmenopausal insomnia + SDB may be particularly important for health care providers who treat this population.
Keywords: Postmenopausal Health; Sleep; Veterans; Women.
Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the Gerontological Society of America 2016.