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Climacteric. 2013 Jun;16(3):362-8. doi: 10.3109/13697137.2012.717997. Epub 2012 Nov 1.

Does menopause influence nocturnal awakening with headache?

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Departamento de Psicobiologia, Universidade Federal de São Paulo, São Paulo/SP, Brazil.



The aim of the present study was to assess whether menopausal status influences the occurrence of nocturnal awakening with headache (NAH) in the female population of Sao Paulo, Brazil. We also examined the relationship of this complaint to sociodemographic determinants, hot flushes, sleep quality and parameters, anxiety and depressive symptoms, somnolence and fatigue according to menopausal status.


The female population of the Sao Paulo Epidemiologic Sleep Study (EPISONO) (n = 576) was divided according to menopausal status (pre-, peri-, early and late menopause) based on questionnaires and hormonal blood measures. The complaint of waking up because of a headache at least once a week was assessed by the UNIFESP Sleep questionnaire. Additionally, hot flushes, sleep complaints, anxiety and depressive symptoms, somnolence and fatigue were assessed by specific questionnaires. A full-night polysomnography assessed sleep parameters.


The prevalence of NAH in women in the Sao Paulo population was 13.3%. Perimenopause was associated with a higher risk of having NAH (odds ratio 13.9; 95% confidence interval 4.3-45.2). More complaints of NAH were observed in obese women. All the groups with NAH showed more hot flushes, worse subjective sleep quality, more complaints of insomnia, anxiety symptoms and fatigue.


We observed a constellation of symptoms in women according to menopausal status and NAH that included hot flushes, sleep complaints, more anxiety symptoms and fatigue. Moreover, some of these symptoms were more frequent in perimenopausal women with NAH. Therefore, we concluded that menopausal status influences NAH and the women in perimenopause presented a high risk of having this complaint.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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