Research Article

Effect of oestrogen on the sleep, mood, and anxiety of menopausal women.

Br Med J 1977; 2 doi: (Published 19 November 1977) Cite this as: Br Med J 1977;2:1317
  1. J Thomson,
  2. I Oswald


    A double-blind controlled study of the effect of piperazine oestrone sulphate on sleep, depression, anxiety, and hot flushes was performed in 34 perimenopausal women. Half of the patients were given six weeks' placebo followed by eight weeks' oestrogen, and half remained on placebo throughout. Sleep was recorded electrophysiologically every week, and mood and anxiety were rated daily by means of visual analogue scales. Hot flushes were counted daily. Observer rating scales of anxiety and depression were complete at intervals. During the first month of active treatment the amount of intervening wakefulness in the first six hours of sleep decreased significantly more in the oestrone group than in those on placebo. Between the baseline period and the second treatment month the oestrone group showed a significantly greater decrease in the total amount of intervening wakefulness and in the frequency of awakenings. Their total amount of rapid eye movement sleep increased. Mood and anxiety improved and the number of hot flushes decreased to a similar degree in both groups. Although oestrogen did reduce the number of episodes of wakefulness in perimenopausal women complaining of insomnia, its effects on their psychological symptoms were little different to those of placebo.