Menopause, Sleep Deprivation & Sex Life
Menopause brings along many changes in the body and troubled sleep is one of them. Adequate sleep is not only important for a healthy life but it also has a great impact on sexual satisfaction. Premenopausal or menopausal women often experience issues associated with sleep such as sleep deprivation, waking up early morning or waking up during the night time.
Factors that contribute to such alteration in the sleep patterns include:
- Fluctuations in the hormonal levels
- Hot flushes
- Anomalous circadian rhythms
- Poor lifestyle choices
- Health conditions
Complications Of Sleep Deprivation
Sleep deprivation further complicates things by deteriorating health. Persistent sleep deprivation may lead to cardiac diseases and hypertension. Studies have proposed an evident link between inadequate sleep and obesity and type 2 diabetes. North America Menopause Society (NAMS) came up with a study that revealed that in menopausal females, sleep deprivation can also sexual dissatisfaction.
Women’s Health Initiative (WHI) conducted a nation study based on the long-term period. The aim of the study was the prevention of wide variety of diseases that postmenopausal women are at great risk of developing between the ages of 50 and 79.
Dr. Kling and other team members analyzed the compiled data on sexual satisfaction with respect to sleep quality of 93,668 women that were part of WIH. Night time sleep of less than 7-8 hours was considered as short duration sleep. Out of the total number of women, 56% of the subjects expressed satisfaction with their sexual life however 52% of the subjects confessed partnering sexual activities in the previous year. The research yielded that 31% of the subjects suffered from insomnia. Summing it up, women who slept less than 7-8 hours every night reported sexual dissatisfaction.
Even after considering certain likely factors responsible for insomnia like chronic disease or depression, the researches nevertheless found an inverse link between sexual dissatisfaction and insomnia. It was found that women with high incidence of insomnia were the least sexually satisfied whereas short duration sleep was also linked to reduced sexual satisfaction and lower chances of partnered sex.
These findings however were age confined. Older women were noted to have a poor sexual life particularly if they took a night sleep of less than7-8 hours, in contrast to younger women. 30% of women who slept less than 5 hours and were above 70 years of age showed sexual dissatisfaction as compared to the ones sleeping for 7-8 hours. This however may also be a result of certain co-morbidities.
According to the author, further long-term studies are required in order to understand:
- How short duration sleep and insomnia actually affect the sexual satisfaction
- whether co-morbidities have an overall impact on sexual satisfaction
It is essential to figure out the significant correlation between the menopausal state, sleep deprivation and sexual dissatisfaction. Sleep deprivation can be managed with proper care and sexual dissatisfaction is also an issue that can be addressed by various hormonal therapies.
- Thornton, K., Chervenak, J., & Neal-Perry, G. (2015). Menopause and sexuality. Endocrinology and metabolism clinics of North America, 44(3), 649-661.
- Labrie, F. (2015). All sex steroids are made intracellularly in peripheral tissues by the mechanisms of intracrinology after menopause. The Journal of steroid biochemistry and molecular biology, 145, 133-138.