Semin Reprod Med 2010; 28(5): 404-421
DOI: 10.1055/s-0030-1262900
© Thieme Medical Publishers

Evaluation and Management of Sleep Disturbance during the Menopause Transition

Hadine Joffe1 , Anda Massler2 , Katherine M. Sharkey3
  • 1Center for Women's Mental Health, Department of Psychiatry, Massachusetts General Hospital, Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts
  • 2Center for Human Genetic Research, Massachusetts General Hospital, Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts
  • 3Departments of Medicine and Psychiatry & Human Behavior, Warren Alpert Medical School of Brown University, Providence, Rhode Island
Further Information

Publication History

Publication Date:
15 September 2010 (online)


Sleep disturbances in midlife women are common and have been associated with the menopause transition itself, symptoms of hot flashes, anxiety and depressive disorders, aging, primary sleep disorders (i.e., obstructive sleep apnea, periodic limb movement disorder), comorbid medical conditions and medications, as well as with psychosocial and behavioral factors. Because there are several common sources of sleep problems in midlife women, the cause of an individual woman's sleep disturbance may be multifactorial. Effective behavioral and pharmacological therapies are available to treat sleep disturbances of different etiologies. This review provides an overview of different types of sleep disturbance occurring in midlife women and presents data supporting the use of hormone therapy, hypnotic agents, and behavioral strategies to treat sleep problems in this population. The review aims to equip clinicians evaluating menopause-age women with the knowledge and evaluation tools to diagnose, engage sleep experts where appropriate, and treat sleep disturbance in this population. Sleep disorders in midlife women should be treated because substantial improvements in quality of life and health outcomes are achievable.


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Hadine JoffeM.D. M.Sc. 

Director of Research, Center for Women's Mental Health, Massachusetts General Hospital

185 Cambridge St, 2nd floor, Boston, MA 02114