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Fam Pract Res J. 1993 Dec;13(4):373-84.

Sleep, psychological distress, and somatic symptoms in perimenopausal women.

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Department of Physiological Nursing, University of Washington, Seattle 98195.



Self-report and somnographic data from 135 volunteer, disease-free, women (37-59 years) were used to determine the prevalence of perceived poor sleep and to compare women with and without "poor" sleep on menopausal status, somnographic sleep, psychological distress, and somatic symptom cluster frequencies.


Data from identical measures done on two groups of perimenopausal-age women, one recruited for menopausal age and the other for same age but sleep problems plus controls, were tested using a two-way analysis of variance for the main effects of recruitment group and the presence or absence of "poor" sleep as well as the joint effects of both.


"Poor" sleep was reported by more than one-third of the women, but menopausal status and perceived sleep quality were not statistically related. Women with "poor" sleep took longer to fall asleep, spent longer in bed, and had higher scores for psychological distress and for four out of five somatic symptom clusters (p < or = 0.03), compared to women with "good" sleep.


In sum, midlife women reporting poor sleep are likely to have trouble falling asleep and to have higher psychological distress and somatic symptoms, especially musculoskeletal discomfort and fatigue, coinciding with their perceived poor sleep.

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