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    Hormone Patterns in Sleep Disturbances Examined

    Study of postmenopausal women highlights association with luteinizing hormone

    WEDNESDAY, Dec. 5 (HealthDay News) -- Sleep disturbances in postmenopausal women are influenced by lower estradiol levels and especially by higher luteinizing hormone levels, researchers report in the December issue of Sleep.

    Patricia J. Murphy, Ph.D., and Scott S. Campbell, Ph.D., of the Weill Cornell Medical College in White Plains, N.Y., followed the sleep patterns of 10 women, aged 57 to 71 years, over three consecutive nights in a laboratory. Body core temperatures and sleep-wake variables were monitored. On the third night, an intravenous catheter was inserted for collection of blood samples at 20-minute intervals. Each hormone series was examined for significant pulses using a computerized program.

    Higher luteinizing hormone levels were significantly associated with lower sleep efficiency, more minutes of wake time after sleep onset and the number of awakenings longer than five minutes. The only significant positive correlation regarding estradiol levels was to sleep efficiency. Whereas estradiol pulses were evenly distributed between wakefulness and sleep, 93 percent of luteinizing hormone pulses during sleep were followed by a period of awakening that lasted at least five minutes. Mean luteinizing hormone levels were also significantly higher among women with higher body temperatures.

    The authors conclude that "these data provide evidence to warrant continued investigation of how age-related changes in the output of the hypothalamic-pituitary-gonadal axis, including both gonadal steroids and gonadotropins, impact sleep quality in aging women."

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