The researchers also found that sleep problems can also interfere with a woman’s level of sexual satisfaction.
According to data analysed for more than 93,000 women aged 50 to 79 years, short sleep duration (defined as fewer than seven to eight hours per night) was associated with lower odds of sexual satisfaction.
Of the participants, 56% reported being somewhat or very satisfied with their current sexual activity, and 52% reported partnered sexual activity within the last year. Insomnia prevalence was 31%.
The study describes how the relationship between sleep length and quality with sexual satisfaction remained even after adjusting for other possible causes of sleep deprivation, including depression and chronic disease.
This relationship, however, did vary across age groups. Older women, for example, were less likely to be sexually active if they slept fewer than seven to eight hours per night compared with younger women.
In fact, women aged older than 70 years who slept fewer than five hours were 30% less likely to be sexually active than those sleeping seven to eight hours.
It is already known that the prevalence of sleep problems increases with age.
“Women and healthcare providers need to recognise the link between menopause symptoms and inadequate sleep and their effects on sexual satisfaction,” executive director of The North American Menopause Society Dr JoAnn Pinkerton commented.
“There are effective treatment options to help with sleep disruption and sexual satisfaction, including hormone therapy, which this study confirmed to be effective at menopause for symptomatic women.”
The study is published online in Menopause, the journal of The North American Menopause Society.