Sleep Health Subpar in Many Middle-Aged Women in the US

Megan Brooks

September 07, 2017

A substantial number of US women in their 40s and 50s are not getting     enough good quality sleep each night, according to a new report from the     National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS), part of the Centers for     Disease Control and Prevention.

Using data from the 2015 National Health Interview Survey, HCHS researcher     Anjel Vahratian, PhD, analyzed sleep duration and quality by menopausal     status among nonpregnant women aged 40 to 59 years.

The American Academy of Sleep Medicine recommends that adults get 7 or more     hours of sleep per night to avoid the health risks of chronic inadequate     sleep.

The data Dr Vahratian analyzed suggests that 35.1% of women aged 40 to 59     years get fewer than 7 hours of sleep, on average, in a 24-hour period. But     it varied by menopausal status, with 56.0% of perimenopausal women, 40.5%     of postmenopausal women, and 32.5% of premenopausal women not meeting the     7+ hour recommendation.

In addition, nearly one in five (19.4%) nonpregnant women in the 40-to-59     age bracket report trouble falling asleep four or more times in the past     week. The percentage increased from 16.8% in premenopausal women to 24.7%     in perimenopausal and 27.1% in postmenopausal women.

More than a quarter (26.7%) of nonpregnant women in this age range report     trouble staying asleep on four or more occasions in the past week. It     ranged from 23.7% in premenopausal women to 30.8% in perimenopausal and     35.9% in postmenopausal women.

Dr Vahratian also found that nearly one in two (48.9%) nonpregnant women in     this age group report not waking up feeling well rested 4 days or more in     the past week, with the percentage ranging from 47.0% in premenopausal     women to 49.9% in perimenopausal and 55.1% in postmenopausal women.

"Sleep duration and quality are important contributors to health and     wellness. Insufficient sleep is associated with an increased risk for     chronic conditions such as cardiovascular disease and diabetes. Women may     be particularly vulnerable to sleep problems in midlife during the     menopausal transition," Dr Vahratian notes in the NCHS data brief     published online September 6.

"Sleep duration changes with advancing age, but sleep duration and quality     are also influenced by concurrent changes in women's reproductive hormone     levels. Because sleep is critical for optimal health and well-being, the     findings in this report highlight areas for further research and targeted     health promotion," Dr Vahratian adds.

NCHS.     Published online September 6, 2017.     Full text

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