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Sleep disturbance is associated with an increased risk of menstrual problems in female Chinese university students



We aimed to investigate the association between sleep disturbance and menstrual problems in female Chinese university students.


A convenience sample of 1006 female university students participated in this study. Sleep duration, sleep quality, and insomnia symptoms were assessed by the Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index and the Insomnia Severity Index. A structured questionnaire was used to assess participants’ demographics and menstrual characteristics.


The prevalence rates of irregular menstrual cycle, heavy menstrual bleeding, menstrual flow length ≥ 7 days, period pain, and premenstrual syndrome were significantly higher in participants with sleep disturbance than those without sleep disturbance (all p < 0.05). After adjusting for potential confounding variables, poor sleep quality and insomnia symptoms were significantly associated with menstrual flow length ≥ 7 days (OR = 1.81, 95% CI = 1.23–2.68, OR = 1.67, 95% CI = 1.13–2.45), period pain (OR = 1.55, 95% CI = 1.02–2.35, OR = 1.56, 95% CI = 1.02–2.37), and premenstrual syndrome (OR = 1.71, 95% CI = 1.30–2.24, OR = 1.93, 95% CI = 1.46–2.56). In addition, poor sleep quality was significantly associated with heavy menstrual bleeding (OR = 1.75, 95% CI = 1.12–2.72), and insomnia symptoms were significantly associated with irregular menstrual cycle (OR = 1.36, 95% CI = 1.02–1.80). However, short sleep duration (≤ 6 h) was only associated with premenstrual syndrome.


Our results suggested that sleep disturbance is associated with menstrual problems among female university students. More attention should be paid to improving the sleep quality and insomnia symptoms in individuals with menstrual problems.

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This work was financially supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (81700087).

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Correspondence to Junying Zhou.

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Xing, X., Xue, P., Li, S.X. et al. Sleep disturbance is associated with an increased risk of menstrual problems in female Chinese university students. Sleep Breath 24, 1719–1727 (2020).

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