Sleep disturbances are common, particularly in middle aged women. Prescription medications for this indication are increasingly used, despite uncertain safety. This study assessed prescription medication use for sleep among a cohort of women with and without sleep disturbances.
We examined reports of sleep disturbance and sleep medication use among pre- and early peri-menopausal womenassessed annually or biennially since 1996. Women self-reported medications at visits, and we identified medications that have been used primarily for sleep disturbances. They reported on difficulties falling and staying asleep, and early morning wakening. Sleep medication use across 20 years of follow-up was examined for all women and by race/ethnicity. Women who reported data for both sleep disturbance and sleep medication use were included in the analyses..
Among participants in a cohort of 3302 women who were enrolled prior to their menopause transition, 3082 women were included in the analytic sample and 2531 (82%) reported sleep disturbances. They were more likely to endorse higher anxiety and pain scores and more comorbid conditions than women without sleep disturbances. Baseline characteristics were similar among women who did and did not use sleep medications. Among women reporting a sleep disturbance at baseline, 2.5% reported sleep medication use, increasing to 8% over 20 years. However, the proportion of women reporting sleep medication use who did not report a sleep disturbance remained low, approximately 1% to 2% over the entire follow-up. Increases in sleep medication use was observed across women of all race/ethnicities.
The use of sleep medications among women reporting sleep disturbance grew over the last 20 years. Growth was observed across women of all race/ethnicities.

© 2020 John Wiley & Sons Ltd.