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Changes in sex steroids associated with menopause
Date:9/30/2008

Westchester, Ill. A study in the Oct. 1 issue of the journal Sleep shows that the increased rate of follicle stimulating hormone (FSH) change that occurs during menopause is associated with increased objective sleep duration but poor subjective sleep quality.

Findings from the sleep profiles created for the study's 365 participants indicate that postmenopausal women had deeper sleep and longer total sleep time than premenopausal women. The faster rate of change in FSH was associated with slow wave sleep and sleep duration, indicating that as women transitioned more rapidly from an endocrine perspective, they slept longer. Simultaneously, however, FSH change was associated with poorer self-reported sleep quality.

"We found that it was not the level of the FSH that was predictive of sleep, bout how quickly these menopause transition changes - FSH changes - occurred when hormones were measured over a seven-year period," said principal investigator MaryFran Sowers, PhD, professor of epidemiology at the University of Michigan.

Women who are nearing the end of the menopause cycle, as reflected by the decreasing ratio of estradiol to testosterone, have more sleep consolidation, or uninterrupted sleep, than women who are in the early stages of menopause. Estradiol is a sex hormone that has a critical impact on reproductive and sexual functioning.

"Sleep characteristics and quality were not affected by the level of estradiol or its rate of change. We believe that this is because estradoil levels do not decline gradually in most women (as is frequently and erroneously believed), and most of the fall in estradiol levels occurs within a year or two of the final menstruation period," Sowers said.

Menopause is a four-to-10 year multifaceted process occurring in women at mid-life and is associated with numerous factors that might trigger or exacerbate sleep disturbances.

Findings also show that women wit
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Contact: Kelly Wagner
kwagner@aasmnet.org
708-492-0930
American Academy of Sleep Medicine
Source:Eurekalert

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