Sleeping longer could improve the sex lives of postmenopausal women, study finds

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Sleeping longer and better could improve the sex lives of postmenopausal women, according to an American study published recently.

Sleep disturbances and insomnia occur frequently with age and are particularly prevalent during menopause. Such conditions have previously been linked to heart disease, hypertension and depression. A new study now suggests that poor sleep can also interfere with the sex lives of women over 50.

Researchers from the North American Menopause Society analysed data from 93,668 women aged 50 to 79. All the participants were enrolled in the Women’s Health Initiative, a vast program dedicated to women’s health.

After adjusting for other possible causes of poor sleep, the analysis revealed that 56% of participants were somewhat or highly satisfied with their current sexual activity. Almost 52% of participants reported sexual relations with a partner during the last year, and 31% reported suffering from insomnia. The researchers also remarked that insomnia increased with age.

The results established a link between sleep duration, sexual satisfaction and age of the women.

In fact, women who slept for six hours a night were 9% less likely to be sexually active. For those who slept for five hours, this rose to 17%.

Similarly, the study found that the oldest participants were less likely to be sexually active if they slept for less than seven to eight hours a night, compared with younger women.

Women aged over 70 who slept for less than five hours were 30% less likely to enjoy regular sexual activity with a partner than those in the same age group sleeping for seven hours.

The lead author of the study, published online, February 1, in Menopause, the journal of The North American Menopause Society (NAMS), encourages healthcare providers to recognize the link between menopause symptoms, insomnia and sexual satisfaction.

“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,” said Dr JoAnn Pinkerton, NAMS executive director.

According to a study published in 2015 by researchers at Pennsylvania State University a third of premenopausal women suffer from insomnia, a figure that then increases with age.

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