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Title Isoflavones May Reduce Insomnia Symptoms in Postmenopausal Women
Date 22 Feb 2011
Full Story Isoflavones may reduce insomnia symptoms as well as hot flushes in postmenopausal women, according to the results of a controlled, double-blinded study reported in the February issue of Menopause.

Many postmenopausal women have insomnia and this study evaluated subjective and objective sleep parameters in postmenopausal women with insomnia and measured changes in these parameters during treatment with isoflavones.

In the 38 postmenopausal women with insomnia, 1 group received 80 mg isoflavones daily for 4 months, and a second group received a placebo daily for the same period. Both qualitative and quantitative analysis of sleep was carried out.

For the isoflavone group vs the placebo group, sleep efficiency increased significantly (from 77.9% to 83.9% vs from 77.6% to 81.2%). In addition, frequency of insomnia was reduced more readily in the isoflavone group. At the beginning of the study, 94.7% of women in the placebo group had moderate or intense insomnia compared with 63.2% at the end of the study; whereas in the isoflavone group these percentages were 89.5% and 36.9%, respectively.

Isoflavones were also effective in reducing the number of hot flushes in postmenopausal women with insomnia compared with the placebo group. This trend became apparent after 2 months of treatment, but the results became significant only after the fourth month of treatment. The intensity of hot flushes was significantly lower in the isoflavone group than in the placebo group at both evaluation points (months 2 and 4 of treatment; 1.6 vs 5.8 and 0.5 vs 3.8; P < .001).

Limitations of this study include its small sample size.

Sleep complaints are common during menopause and often cause significant distress, with secondary effects of low mood, fatigue, irritability and poor functioning. This aspect of the menopause deserves further studies which should include examination of the effects of Hormone therapy, alternative and/or complementary treatment for insomnia in postmenopausal women.

Menopause. 2011;18:178-184. Abstract

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