The increased prevalence of sleep disorders associated with menopause has been emphasized by multiple international studies. Many factors are associated with insomnia during menopause, among them: hot flashes (HF), anxiety and depression, other medical conditions, behavioral and psychosocial factors and primitive sleep patterns. The domino hypothesis connects various factors and suggests that HF disturb sleep, thereby causing insomnia, which in turn increases vulnerability to depression. Nevertheless, sleep disorders predict mood disturbances more robustly than vasomotor symptoms (VMS), indicating that sleep also influences mood via other mechanisms. The medical conditions that may compromise sleep in this age group are common; they include obesity, gastroesophageal reflux, cancer, urinary incontinence and nocturia, thyroid dysfunction, chronic pain, fibromyalgia (often starting or worsening in menopause), and hypertension. Common causes of sleep disorders in middle-aged women include poor sleep hygiene, volitional factors, environmental disturbances, alcohol intake, marital dissatisfaction, requests for care from children, grandchildren and/or elderly parents, and financial worries. Evidence from other populations suggests that if insomnia is not treated, it may negatively affect the outcome of comorbid conditions. Taken together, these observations suggest that insomnia should be considered a disorder requiring specific attention and treatment. Moreover, recent cross-sectional data link sleep with subclinical markers of cardiovascular risk. It should also be noted that insomnia is common in patients with mild to moderate obstructive sleep apnea syndrome (OSAS).
Keywords: Hot flashes; Insomnia; Menopause; Sleep.
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