• 9 Reasons why women suffer more from insomnia than men

9 Reasons why women suffer more from insomnia than men

Does the wage gap? Is the gap of desire? Is the gap orgasm? Meet the newest member club of the disparity: the gap sleep.

According to the Department of Health and Human Services US, insomnia is more common among women than among men ... and experts believe that there are some specific reasons for this sad reality.

Some relate to our biology and can cause insomnia directly, while others are unique conditions of women who happen to have insomnia as a side effect. Here we explain what you can blame your sleepless nights and some tips to sleep ... for a change.


Women have different levels of estrogen and progesterone than men, but maybe you knew. These levels fluctuate throughout the menstrual cycle. Doctors believe that these hormonal changes can affect our ability to fall asleep or stay asleep, according to Dianne Augelli, sleep expert medical Weill Cornell Center for Sleep Medicine at Presbyterian Hospital in New York, United States. "Estrogen acts on different paths neutotransmisores that could have an effect on sleep regulation; besides, progesterone can have a hypnotic property," he says. "Fluctuations in these hormones may have effects on the circadian cycle." The timing and severity vary between women and even experts do not fully understand how these hormonal changes disturb sleep, but believe they are an important factor, according to Augelli.

The menstruation

In addition to keeping you awake at night, these hormones also cause all kinds of menstrual side effects. Inflammation, cramps, breast tenderness and mood swings and anxiety can hinder sleep.


Yes, being pregnant can wear you out, but pregnant women often suffer from sleep by physical discomfort, without increased urination that often accompanies bundle of joy that lies just on your bladder.

In addition, it is more likely that women suffer obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) and restless legs syndrome when they are brewing due to hormonal changes and relatively low iron count, respectively.

In the case of obstructive sleep apnea, the airways become blocked or collapse, which can cause pauses in breathing that can wake you up. Loud snoring is one of the characteristic symptoms of OSA, but women do not always snore, according to Augelli, why this disorder goes unnoticed in the case of women.

The American Society for Thoracic indicates that hormonal changes of pregnancy can cause inflammation of the airways, but this narrowing can also result in weight gain, according to Michelle Drerup, sleep psychologist and specialist in behavioral sleep medicine the Sleep Disorders Center at the Cleveland Clinic.

The restless legs syndrome is twice as common in women than in men in general, although it seems that pregnancy is the time when some women feel the pulsating nightlife and the need to move the legs.

"When you're pregnant, your blood volume expands, so you have some degree of anemia," says Augelli.

"One theory suggests that there is not enough iron in a specific part of the brain that produces dopamine and that can trigger the feeling of restlessness in the legs." Women of reproductive age are more likely to have anemia or low iron counts and is more common to have the feeling of restlessness in the legs, he says.


Congratulations: Bulk destroyer that dream has become a destroyer baby sleep and soon a destroyer infant sleep becomes. Drerup says many of their families who have children tell you that even if their children begin sleeping through the night, they are still waking up. "They have 'ears Mom': do not sleep so deeply because they are accustomed to react to your child."

For at least one of those women, the solution was to wait 18 years. "The interesting thing about it is that one of the patients I worked with had insomnia since her daughter was born and when it is moved to go to college, she went back to sleep Probably there was no physiological effect;. Rather it was the psychological concern be awake for her daughter. "


The children finally left home, since you retired and naps can sleep all you want ... right? Nope. Not everything is hunky-dory when women approach menopause. Yes, the dreaded hot flashes and night sweats can cause other uncomfortable night, but also the detail that the prevalence of obstructive sleep apnea increases as women go through menopause until arriving at similar levels than men, Augelli says.

If your partner notices that you snore or pant, or if you feel you can not sleep, talk to your doctor, or you're not in menopause. "As women have different symptoms than men in case of heart attack, women have different symptoms than men in the case of OSA. Insomnia may be one of those symptoms," he says.


Do you think that there is something that will affect your sleep at every stage of the life of the woman? Does that made you stressed? Beware: stress about not sleeping can worsen the problem, says Augello. You should worry just enough. "It is true that there is a kind of snowball effect: there is an initial insult and it remains a kind of phenomenon of stress The concerns, worries and excessive attention to the lack of sleep can perpetuate.". It is not always easy to change this mentality.

In his work, Drerup uses cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) to help people become more aware and fight "catastrophic" thoughts that make it harder for people to sleep; thoughts like "how am I going to work tomorrow?". "This is helping to realize when they are caught in these patterns of negative thinking and working to assess the situation more balanced" he says.

Drerup also recommends different relaxation strategies to help distract people when they can not sleep. One is to tell their patients get out of bed and do something relaxing that does not involve a screen: something like read a magazine or take a coloring book for adults (says his patients like to use them as a form of meditation ".

Anxiety and depression

There is a common stress-related insomnia and other more complicated health problems that can interfere with sleep and affect women more than men regardless of age, such as depression and anxiety (fibromyalgia, a chronic pain disorder, also falls into this category).

As Augelli notes, mental health problems are a bit like the question of the chicken or the egg, but we know are related. "Anxiety and depression can cause insomnia or insomnia can provoke," he says. "Now we call comorbid insomnia have effects on each other." Needless to say, if you think you have depression or anxiety (or if you know you have them and are not well controlled) you should seek treatment.

Your partner

Drerup said that of the thousands of patients who have attended the pair of only a handful of people also have insomnia. That means, in most cases, a person sleeps peacefully while the other lies awake and furious.

In these situations, or when one of the partners has habits that disturb the sleep of the other (snoring, tics or sleepwalking), Drerup recommends you sleep in a different room for a week to test. If the quality of your sleep improves considerably, you could talk to your partner about seeking treatment or think that the room change permanent. "Having separate areas for sleeping is more common than people think," he says.

If the problem has more to do with different bedtimes and getting up, Augelli says you should respect your own schedule. "You sure you do not try to sync with your partner unless you really get up at the same time every day," he says.

"Everyone has a slightly different sleep cycle". This could mean that you should wait until you are truly tired to get you to bed or as recommended Drerup, lie down together but leave the room once your partner falls asleep and go to your own sanctuary sleep.

There, you can do whatever you want until you fall asleep. "That makes many of my patients: the person who falls asleep first stays there and then I go to my room to sleep We spent some time together but that does not disturb me.".

Poor sleep hygiene

If you can not blame your insomnia to snoring or other kinds of discomfort from your partner (or if you already solved that problem), it's time to look inward. For people whose daily functioning is affected by lack of sleep, it is essential to follow some standard guidelines for sleep hygiene, such as going to bed at the same time every night; keep the room dark and cool; not to use one of your many devices before bedtime, and exercise, but not too close to bedtime, says Augelli. (Maybe your sleep hygiene is worse than you think. Take this quiz to find out).

If you've tried everything and you literally can not sleep as well as you want, perhaps worthwhile you talk to a specialist in sleep, who can give you a more structured plan to break the cycle behavior. "Working with someone who has insomnia really is individualized plan of measures that will work in your case," adds Drerup.

Related Tags

insomnia women health conditions sleep hormones medical menopause stress


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