Acute and chronic Insomnia

The Women and Sleep Workshop in 2007 found the prevalence of insomnia in the general population to be between 9% and 15%. Reviews presented at this workshop demonstrated that women had a 41% greater risk for developing insomnia than men. Studies have shown that 25% of women aged between 50 and 64 years report sleep problems, and 15% of those report severe sleep disturbance that has a substantial effect on their quality of life.

Insomnia is more prevalent in women of all ages compared with men, and various factors might contribute to this heightened risk. Complex interactions between sex hormones during the reproductive years and related to menstrual problems, or in female-specific conditions, such as polycystic ovarian syndrome, may increase risk for sleep disturbances. Similarly, many factors increase the risk of insomnia and other sleep-related problems with the menopausal transition.

Sleep quality is an important determinant of health and quality of life. Sleep deprivation has been linked to medical disorders, such as obesity, cardiovascular disease, diabetes and mood disorders. It is important for all health professionals to have an understanding of factors associated with sleep disturbance in menopause, be able to elicit a basic sleep history, address behavioral and circadian factors that may be contributing to sleep disturbance, and target investigations in order to provide the most effective treatment strategies.