Sex Hormones and Sleep in Men and Women From the General Population: A Cross-Sectional Observational Study

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Abstract

Context and Objectives:

Associations between sex hormones and sleep habits originate mainly from small and selected patient-based samples. We examined data from a population-based sample with various sleep characteristics and the major part of sex hormones measured by mass spectrometry.

Design, Setting, and Participants:

We used data from 204 men and 213 women of the cross-sectional Study of Health in Pomerania-TREND.

Main Outcome and Measures:

Associations of total T (TT) and free T, androstenedione (ASD), estrone, estradiol (E2), dehydroepiandrosterone-sulphate, SHBG, and E2 to TT ratio with sleep measures (including total sleep time, sleep efficiency, wake after sleep onset, apnea-hypopnea index [AHI], Insomnia Severity Index, Epworth Sleepiness Scale, and Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index) were assessed by sex-specific multivariable regression models.

Results:

In men, age-adjusted associations of TT (odds ratio 0.62; 95% confidence interval (CI) 0.46–0.83), free T, and SHBG with AHI were rendered nonsignificant after multivariable adjustment. In multivariable analyses, ASD was associated with Epworth Sleepiness Scale (β-coefficient per SD increase in ASD: −0.71; 95% CI: −1.18 to −0.25). In women, multivariable analyses showed positive associations of dehydroepiandrosterone-sulphate with wake after sleep onset (β-coefficient: .16; 95% CI 0.03–0.28) and of E2 and E2 to TT ratio with Epworth Sleepiness Scale. Additionally, free T and SHBG were associated with AHI in multivariable models among premenopausal women.

Conclusions:

The present cross-sectional, population-based study observed sex-specific associations of androgens, E2, and SHBG with sleep apnea and daytime sleepiness. However, multivariable-adjusted analyses confirmed the impact of body composition and health-related lifestyle on the association between sex hormones and sleep.

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