Sleep Disorders and Women

Do you ever lie asleep at night watching the minutes turn into sleepless hours? Women are twice as likely as men to have difficulties falling asleep or staying asleep. While sleep problems are more common in women older than 40, some women are prone to sleep problems throughout their reproductive years.

A number of factors may affect women’s sleep including:

·        Changes in hormonal levels

o   Pregnancy- and menstrual-related hormonal fluctuations may affect sleep patterns. Many women have premenstrual sleep disturbances. Difficulty falling asleep, nighttime waking, difficulty waking up, and daytime sleepiness all are linked to premenstrual changes. Insomnia is one of the most common symptoms of premenstrual syndrome.

o   Sleep disturbances become more common during menopause. Women wake up more often at night and are more tired during the day. Hot flashes and night sweats linked to lower levels of estrogen may contribute to these problems. During the menopausal years, snoring becomes more frequent. After menopause, women get less deep sleep and are more likely to awaken at night than during menopause. There is also an increase in obstructive sleep apnea in post-menopausal women.

·        Stress

o   Many women cope with the roles of wife, mother, caregiver for parents, and worker. With less time for themselves, they often reduce sleep. Sleep deprivation and stress are linked with long-term insomnia.

·        Lifestyle

o   Work and lifestyle can also contribute to primary sleep disorders. Women who work in rotating and night shifts are likely to experience sleep problems. Inactivity and lack of exercise can lead to trouble falling asleep. Women with erratic schedules or altered weekend sleep patterns are more likely to have trouble resetting their body clock to normal.

If you are experiencing insomnia, schedule an appointment with Dr. Strebel or Dr. Grolle to talk about options for getting you back to the valuable sleep and rest you need.