Sleep Disorders

Updated 19 June 2020

Less sleep leads to less sex in postmenopausal women

Investigators found that getting less than the recommended seven to eight hours of sleep a night was associated with less sexual activity and sexual satisfaction in postmenopausal women.

Too little sleep may lead to too little intimacy for postmenopausal women, a new study finds.

The study included nearly 94,000 women who were asked about their sleep habits during the previous four weeks. They were also asked about their sexual activity during the past year, and their levels of sexual satisfaction. The women were all between the ages of 50 and 79, the researchers said.

Read: Sex and menopause

Thirty percent of women had high insomnia levels, the study found. These women were less sexually active than those without sleep problems, the researchers said. The investigators also found that getting less than the recommended seven to eight hours of sleep a night was associated with less sexual activity and sexual satisfaction.

Although the current study found an association between a lack of sleep and sexual activity and satisfaction, it didn't prove a cause-and-effect relationship.

Read: Menopause? Keep sex life sweet

The study is to be presented Wednesday at the annual meeting of the North American Menopause Society in Las Vegas. Findings presented at meetings are generally viewed as preliminary until they've been published in a peer-reviewed journal.

"We found that insomnia was associated with lower sexual function," study author Dr Juliana Kling, of the Mayo Clinic, said in a society news release. She added that the next step in her research will be to see how sleep and sexual function relate to each other over time.

Dr Wulf Utian, executive director of the North American Menopause Society, said in the release, "What's important for postmenopausal women to know is that they are not alone in this, and current treatments exist for those looking to improve their sleep habits and the intimacy in their relationships. They just need to talk to their doctor to find out what works for them."

Read more:

Pill may ease sex pain for older woman 

What happens to a woman's sex life after 50?

Woman's low libido not only blamed on menopause


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Sleep disorders expert

Dr Alison Bentley is a general practitioner who has consulted in sleep medicine and sleep disorders, in both adults and children of all ages, for almost 30 years. She also researches and publishes on a number of sleep-related topics both in formal research journals and lay publications including as editor of Sleep Matters, an educational newsletter on sleep disorders for doctors.

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