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Better sleep can improve sex lives in postmenopausal women

Researchers have found a link between sleep disturbances, insomnia and decreased sexual function in postmenopausal women.

By Amy Wallace
Better sleep can improve sex lives in postmenopausal women
A new study shows that sleep disturbances in menopause are linked to a decrease in sexual satisfaction among women. Photo by MikesPhotos/PixaBay

Feb. 1 (UPI) -- A new study from the North American Menopause Society, or NAMS, has found that sleep disruption in menopausal and postmenopausal women can lead to decreased sexual function.

Doctors have known that sleep disturbances in menopausal women can lead to heart disease, hypertension and depression, but the new study shows that it can also interfere with a woman's level of sexual satisfaction.

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"Women and healthcare providers need to recognize the link between menopause symptoms and inadequate sleep and their effects on sexual satisfaction," Dr. Joann Pinkerton, NAMS executive director said in a press release. "There are effective treatment options to help with sleep disruption and sexual satisfaction, including hormone therapy, which this study confirmed to be effective at menopause for symptomatic women."

The study analyzed data from 93,668 women ages 50 to 79 enrolled in the Women's Health Initiative Observational Study and found that short duration sleep of less than 7 to 8 hours a night increased the chance of women having less sexual satisfaction.

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Roughly 56 percent of women in the study reported being somewhat or very satisfied with their current sexual activity, 52 percent reported partnered sexual activity in the last year and 31 percent reported having insomnia.

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Results showed that older women were less likely to be sexually active if they slept fewer than 7 to 8 hours a night compared to younger women, and women over 70 who slept fewer than 5 hours a night were 30 percent less likely to be sexually active than women getting 7 to 8 hours of sleep per night.

Researchers found that the correlation between sleep disturbances and lower sexual satisfaction existed regardless of other factors such as depression or chronic disease.

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The study was published in Menopause.

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