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Volume 14 No. 07
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Accepted Papers

Scientific Investigations

Sleep Disturbances in Midlife Women at the Cusp of the Menopausal Transition

Holly J. Jones, PhD, RN, CFNP1; Rochelle Zak, MD2; Kathryn A. Lee, PhD, RN, CBSM3
1College of Nursing, University of Cincinnati, Cincinnati, Ohio; 2Sleep Disorders Center, University of California, San Francisco, California; 3Department of Family Health Care Nursing, University of California, San Francisco, California

Study Objectives:

To compare causes of sleep disturbance and to compare self-reported sleep duration among groups of late premenopausal women and early perimenopausal women.


In a longitudinal study of a community-based sample of healthy women 40 to 50 years of age, menstrual cycle and symptom data were collected every 2 months; anthropometric measures, a urine sample for follicle stimulating hormone (FSH), and the Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index (PSQI) measures were collected every 6 months.


At 12 to 18 months, 206 women remained premenopausal and 69 women became perimenopausal. Poor sleep quality (PSQI score > 5) was experienced by 42% of the total cohort. Awakening to use the bathroom was the most frequent reason (81%) for sleep disturbance in the entire cohort, followed by feeling too hot (26%). However, premenopausal women were significantly more likely to awaken to use the bathroom than perimenopausal women (P = .047), and perimenopausal women were more likely than premenopausal women to awaken because of feeling too hot (P = .002). Women in early perimenopause reported shorter sleep duration (P = .007) and worse sleep quality (P = .05) than premenopausal women of similar age.


Sleep disturbance is a significant issue for midlife women regardless of age or reproductive stage. Identification of salient factors that disrupt sleep, such as nocturia prior to menopausal transition or feeling too hot early in menopausal transition, will provide direction for developing tailored intervention strategies to improve sleep and quality of life.


A commentary on this article appears in this issue on page 1095.


Jones HJ, Zak R, Lee KA. Sleep disturbances in midlife women at the cusp of the menopausal transition. J Clin Sleep Med. 2018;14(7):1127–1133.

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