Women report increasing sleep difficulties during menopause, but polysomnographic measures do not detect sleep disturbances. We examined whether two spectral analysis sleep measures, delta and beta power, were related to menopausal status.
The Study of Women's Health Across the Nation (SWAN) Sleep Study compared cross-sectionally spectral sleep measures in women in different stages of menopause.
Sleep EEG was recorded in the participants' homes with ambulatory recorders.
A multi-ethnic cohort of premenopausal and early perimenopausal (n = 189), late perimenopausal (n = 73), and postmenopausal (n = 59) women.
EEG power in the delta and beta frequency bands was calculated for all night NREM and all night REM sleep. Physical, medical, psychological, and socioeconomic data were collected from questionnaires and diaries.
Beta EEG power in NREM and REM sleep in late perimenopausal and postmenopausal women exceeded that in pre- and early perimenopausal women. Neither all night delta power nor the trend in delta power across the night differed by menopausal status. In a multivariate model that controlled for the physical, demographic, behavioral, psychological, and health-related changes that accompany menopause, beta power in both NREM and REM sleep EEG was significantly related to menopausal status. The frequency of hot flashes explained part but not all of the relation of beta power to menopausal status.
Elevated beta EEG power in late perimenopausal and postmenopausal women provides an objective measure of disturbed sleep quality in these women. Elevated beta EEG activity suggests that arousal level during sleep is higher in these women.
Campbell IG; Bromberger JT; Buysse DJ; Hall MH; Hardin KA; Kravitz HM; Matthews KA; Rasor MO; Utts J; Gold E. Evaluation of the association of menopausal status with delta and beta EEG activity during sleep. SLEEP 2011;34(11):1561-1568.