Association between obesity and sleep disorders in postmenopausal women

Menopause. 2018 Feb;25(2):139-144. doi: 10.1097/GME.0000000000000962.


Objective: To investigate the relationship between obesity and sleep architecture in postmenopausal women.

Methods: One hundred seven postmenopausal women from the Ambulatory of Integrative Treatment for Female Sleep Disorders were invited by telephone to participate in this study. Fifty-three completed the study. We included women aged 50 to 70 years, and excluded women on hormone therapy or missing data. The study consisted of two meetings, including a full-night polysomnography. Menopause status was confirmed by amenorrhea for at least 1 year. Anthropometric measurements included: body mass, height, body mass index (BMI), waist circumference, hip circumference, waist-to-hip ratio (WHR), and neck circumference. Participants were allocated into two groups according to BMI: nonobese group (BMI <30 kg/m) and obese group (BMI ≥30 kg/m).

Results: The obese group had significantly (P < 0.01) increased values of BMI, neck circumference, waist circumference, and hip circumference. WHR was similar between the groups (P = 0.77). Obese participants had significantly increased values of respiratory disturbance index (16.4 vs 9.3 n°/h) and apnea-hypopnea index (14.2 vs 5.6 n°/h). Rapid eye movement sleep latency was positively correlated to body mass (r = P < 0.01), BMI (P < 0.01), and hip circumference (P = 0.01). WHR was negatively correlated to sleep efficiency (P = 0.03). The linear regression model showed that BMI (P < 0.01) and WHR (P < 0.01) were positive predictors of rapid eye movement sleep latency.

Conclusion: In postmenopausal women, high BMI and abdominal obesity are sources of sleep disturbances, decreasing deep sleep, and sleep efficiency, while increasing the risk of obstructive sleep apnea.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Body Mass Index
  • Female
  • Hip
  • Humans
  • Middle Aged
  • Neck
  • Obesity / complications
  • Obesity / physiopathology*
  • Polysomnography
  • Postmenopause / physiology*
  • Severity of Illness Index
  • Sleep Apnea, Obstructive / complications
  • Sleep Apnea, Obstructive / physiopathology*
  • Sleep, REM*
  • Waist Circumference
  • Waist-Hip Ratio