Trajectory analysis of sleep maintenance problems in midlife women before and after surgical menopause: the Study of Women’s Health Across the Nation (SWAN).



Investigate temporal patterns of sleep maintenance problems in women who became surgically menopausal (hysterectomy with bilateral oophorectomy) before their final menstrual period and examine whether presurgery trajectories of sleep maintenance problems are related to problems staying asleep postsurgery.


Longitudinal analysis of sleep self-reports collected every 1 to 2 years from 1996 to 2013 from 176 surgically menopausal women in the Study of Women’s Health Across the Nation, a seven-site community-based, multiethnic/multiracial, cohort study. Median follow-up was 15.3 years (4.2 years presurgery, 10.2 years postsurgery). Group-based trajectory modeling was used to identify patterns of problems staying asleep, and the presurgery trajectories were used to predict similar postsurgery sleep problems.


Four trajectory patterns of sleep maintenance problems were identified: low (33.5% of women), moderate (33.0%), increasing during presurgery (19.9%), and high (13.6%). One-fifth of women reported a presurgery increase in these problems. Postsurgically, problems staying asleep remained associated with similar levels of presurgical problems, even after adjusting for postsurgical early morning awakening, frequent vasomotor symptoms, and bodily pain score (βlow = -1.716, βmoderate = -1.144, βincreasing = -0.957, βhigh = -1.021; all P values <0.01).


Sleep maintenance problems were relatively stable across time postsurgery. These data are remarkably consistent with our trajectory results across the natural menopause, suggesting that presurgical assessment of sleep concerns could help guide women’s expectations postsurgically. Although reassuring that sleep complaints do not worsen postsurgically for most surgically menopausal women, referral to a sleep specialist should be considered if sleep symptoms persist or worsen after surgery.

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