Haufe, A., Baker, F. C., & Leeners, B. (2022). The role of ovarian hormones in the pathophysiology of perimenopausal sleep disturbances: A systematic review. Sleep medicine reviews, 101710
Sleep disturbance is a common clinical concern throughout the menopausal transition. However, the pathophysiology and causes of these sleep disturbances remain poorly understood, making it challenging to provide appropriate therapy. Our goal was to i) review the literature about the influence of ovarian hormones on sleep in perimenopausal women, ii) summarize the potential underlying pathophysiology of menopausal sleep disturbances and iii) evaluate the implications of these findings for the therapeutic approach to sleep disturbances in the context of menopause. A systematic literature search using the databases Embase, MEDLINE and Cochrane Library was conducted. Keywords relating to ovarian hormones, sleep disturbances and menopause were used. Ultimately, 86 studies were included. Study Quality Assessment Tools of the National Institutes of Health were used for quality assessment. Results from good-quality studies demonstrated that the postmenopausal decline in estrogen and progesterone contributes to sleep disturbances in women and that timely treatment with estrogen and/or progesterone therapy improved overall sleep quality. Direct and indirect effects of both hormones acting in the central nervous system and periphery, as well as via secondary effects (e.g. reduction in vasomotor symptoms), can contribute to improvements in sleep. To strengthen external validity, studies examining neurobiological pathways are needed.