Insomnia Reduced Sexual Satisfaction, Activity in Postmenopausal Women

Older woman with insomnia
Older woman with insomnia
Postmenopausal women with insomnia experienced less sexual satisfaction and frequency.

New results presented at the North American Menopause Society (NAMS) 2015 Annual Meeting suggest that women with insomnia experienced reduced sexual frequency and satisfaction.

According to Juliana M. Kling, MD, MPH, lead study author and assistant professor of medicine at the Mayo Clinic in Scottsdale, Arizona, sleep and sexual dysfunction are common during the menopausal transition and adversely affect quality of life. “Understanding these better and if a relationship exists between them could have important clinical implications,” she told Endocrinology Advisor.

This led Dr Kling and colleagues to conduct a cross-sectional study documenting the sleeping habits of 93,668 women (age, 50-79 years) during a 4-week interval.

The researchers calculated insomnia with the Women’s Health Initiative Insomnia Rating Scale (WHIIRS). The scale includes questions that evaluate participants’ sleep patterns, including whether they had trouble falling asleep, woke up several times at night or too early, had trouble getting back to sleep, and overall sleep quality and restfulness.

Dr Kling and colleagues assessed the cross-sectional relationship between these sleep measures and sexual activity during the past year and current sexual satisfaction (either with a partner or alone).

Among participants, 30% had high insomnia scores. Compared with women without sleep issues, those with sleep issues were less sexually active (49.7% vs. 53.3%).

Furthermore, women with sleep duration less than the recommended 7 to 8 hours per night had decreased sexual activity and sexual satisfaction.

“Lower sleep duration and higher insomnia risk were each associated with decreased sexual function, but these associations appear to be explained by other factors,” Dr Kling said. “We had hypothesized that associations would exist between characteristics of sleep and sexual function.

“Further evaluation including longitudinal investigation may help clarify these relationships further,” Dr Kling continued, adding in a press release that the investigators plan to extend the findings by examining the inter-relations between sleep and sexual function over time.


  1. Kling J, et al. Presented at: North American Menopause Society (NAMS) 2015 Annual Meeting; Sept. 30-Oct. 3, 2015; Las Vegas.