Poor sleep linked to 'sexual dysfunction' in menopausal women

·2 min read
Close up top view middle-aged woman lying down in bed on pillow put hand on face, concept of female having insomnia sleeping disorder or migraine pain, melancholic mood, personal life troubles concept
The menopause often affects a woman's sleep and sex life. (Stock, Getty Images)

A good night's sleep could do wonders for a woman's sex life, research suggests.

The benefits of shut-eye are vast, with insufficient sleep being linked to heart disease, depression and infertility, amongst other medical conditions.

Scientists from the North American Menopause Society (NAMS) have now reported that poor quality sleep is linked to "sexual dysfunction" among middle-aged women.

Read more: How women increase their sexual pleasure

This comes after Dutch scientists reported female insomniacs may be more at risk of a premature death.

Hot flushes, a tell-tale sign of the menopause, may make a woman struggle to nod off and reluctant to be intimate. (Stock, Getty Images)
Hot flushes, a tell-tale sign of the menopause, may make a woman struggle to nod off and reluctant to be intimate. (Stock, Getty Images)

The menopause, which typically occurs between 45 and 55, is known to cause problems in the bedroom for some.

Hot flushes mean many women struggle to sleep easily, while vaginal dryness can make sex uncomfortable.

Falling oestrogen levels can often affect a woman's libido, despite previous research suggesting sex is 'highly important' to a quarter of middle-aged women.

Read more: Why casual sex is declining among young adults

Struggling to sleep has been linked to other issues between the sheets, however, the NAMS scientists felt the quality of previous research was lacking.

To learn more, they analysed over 3,400 women with an average age of 53.

Results – published in the journal Menopause – suggest poor sleep quality is linked to sexual dysfunction, with intimacy problems "associated with distress". It is unclear how sleep quality was defined.

The duration of a woman's shut-eye, however, was not found to affect her sex life.

Read more: Losing smell linked to reduced sexual 'satisfaction'

The scientists hope the results will enable doctors to better treat menopausal women affected by poor sleep or sexual issues.

"This study highlights an association between poor sleep quality and sexual dysfunction," said study author Dr Stephanie Faubion. 

"These are two common issues for midlife women, and asking about and addressing each may contribute to improved quality of life."

Watch: US women starting menopause later in life

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