Female menstrual health and its relationship with sleep is an understudied subject. The aim of this investigation was to determine the association between the two in a community sample. Data were obtained from n = 579 menstruating females who participated in the Sleep and Health Activity, Diet, Environment, and Socialization (SHADES) study, a community-based sample of adults aged 22-60 years. Participants were asked, “How regular is your period?”, with response choices of “very regular”, “mostly regular”, “fairly regular” and “not regular”. They were also asked, “How much bleeding do you usually experience during your period?” Response choices were: “very heavy”, “heavy”, “medium”, “light” or “very light”. These were evaluated as ordinal outcomes. Sleep-related predictors included sleep duration (in hr; ≤ 6 [short], 7-9 [normal] and ≥ 9 [long]), Insomnia Severity Index score, Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index score, Epworth Sleepiness Scale score and Fatigue Severity Scale score. Covariates included age, education, income, race/ethnicity and body mass index. Short sleep duration was associated with heavier bleeding (odds ratio = 1.46, p = 0.026) and greater cycle irregularity (odds ratio = 1.44, p = 0.031) as compared with normal sleep. Higher Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index score was associated with greater cycle irregularity (odds ratio = 1.05, p = 0.022). Higher Fatigue Severity Scale score was associated with heavier bleeding (odds ratio = 1.02, p = 0.003) and greater cycle irregularity (odds ratio = 1.02, p = 0.008). Long sleep, Insomnia Severity Index and Epworth Sleepiness Scale were not associated with either outcome. These results demonstrate an association between short sleep duration, poor sleep quality, fatigue, stress and depression with heavier bleeding and menstrual cycle irregularity, highlighting the need for further studies to improve treatment options.
© 2021 European Sleep Research Society.