Introduction: Physiological and psychological changes are observed during the postmenopausal period. In nursing practice reflexology has been used to cope with changes during this period. This study was conducted to determine whether reflexology could improve sleep quality and decrease fatigue in postmenopausal women.
Methods: This randomized controlled study was carried out between April and December 2018. The study sample consisted of 72 postmenopausal women (36 in the intervention group and 36 in the control group). Reflexology was applied in a total of 12 sessions by the researcher on the postmenopausal women in the intervention group. The data were collected using an Introductory Information Form, the Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index (PSQI) and the Fatigue Severity Scale (FSS).
Results: After applying reflexology, the intervention group exhibited a decrease in mean PSQI posttest total score which was significantly different to the control group (Cohen’s d= 3.07, 95% confidence interval (CI): 0,612–4,268) (p<0.001). However, the differences between the control group and the intervention group scores were not statistically significant for the subjective sleep quality, sleep latency or sleep disorder components (p>0.05). After reflexology application, the mean total FSS score of the women in the intervention group decreased, and the difference between the two scores was significant (Cohen’s d = 1.83, 95 % CI: -9,819–4,042) (p<0.001).
Conclusion: Post-menopausal women benefited after the application of reflexology as sleep quality increased and fatigue decreased. Reflexology could be used as a non-pharmacological therapeutic option offered in nursing care.
Keywords: Postmenopausal Women, Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index, Reflexology, Fatigue Severity Scale, Randomized Controlled Trial, Sleep.