Don’t blame menopause for sleep troubles

A new study says menopause doesn’t create or increase sleep issues for women.

Research from the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania examined long-term sleep issues in women before, during and after menopause. The study, which took place from 1996 to 2012, assessed the sleep of 255 women participating in the Penn Ovarian Aging Study. When they began the study, all premenopausal women were 35 to 48 years old and 56% had no sleep issues, according to a press release by Penn Medicine.

Over the 16-year period, 82% reported moderate to severe issues with sleep.

Those who had difficulty sleeping in their 30s and 40s were three times more likely to suffer from sleep problems during menopause, the study found. These sleep issues, however, did not seem to be linked to menopause itself.

While hot flashes occurred during some of the poor sleep, a large proportion of the troubled sleep occurred when hot flashes were not present, the release notes.

“Our results show that for the majority of women, menopause does not further exacerbate existing sleep problems or cause new ones,” says Ellen Freeman, lead author of the study. “Possible reasons for poor sleep instead may include health problems, anxiety and stress.”

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