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Study Finds That Poor Sleep Nearly Doubles Risk of Sexual Dysfunction in Women

The importance of getting a good night’s sleep cannot be overstated. Lack of sleep can lead to several health problems and affect a woman’s overall quality of life. A new study suggest that insufficient quality sleep also may lead to problems in the bedroom in the form of female sexual dysfunction. Both sleep and sexual function problems are common in women during midlife. More than 26% of midlife women experience significant sleep symptoms that meet the criteria for insomnia, and sleep problems are reported by nearly half of women during the menopause transition. Up to 43% of women report sexual problems during this same period in their lives.

How the Study was Conducted

Multiple studies have been conducted to determine whether there is any association between sleep and sexual function problems. However, most of the previous studies did not consistently evaluate sexual dysfunction with validated tools, nor did they define sexual dysfunction by the presence of sex problems associated with distress. This particular study involved more than 3,400 women with an average age of 53 years old. Researchers evaluated potential associations between sleep quality and duration and sexual function using validated tools after accounting for factors that may influence both outcomes. They concluded that poor sleep quality, but not sleep duration, was associated with greater odds of female sexual dysfunction. Good sleep quality, in contrast, was linked with sexual activity.

Next Steps

Experts believe that it’s clear from this study that doctors should be asking women about anything that might be impacting either their sleep or their sex lives. When encountering patients with sexual dysfunction, practitioners should consider the possibility of a sleep disorder. Unfortunately, many general practitioners don’t ask midlife women about either their sleep or their sex life. If your doctor doesn’t, it’s important that you bring it up yourself. Experts suggest that a woman with sexual functioning issues should look at their sleep. Many things can impact sexual functioning, but this study identified that sleep may be one of them.

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