In general, sleep disorders are more common in women than in men. Insomnia is the most frequent sleep disorder among women. For every man who suffers from insomnia there are two women who have it.
Hormonal change is the main reason for women having higher rates of sleep disorders. Hormone levels affect sleep, so some women may have trouble sleeping during the menstrual cycle, pregnancy or menopause.
We must not forget the psychosocial factors that can affect women, such as family or work problems.
Insomnia and menstruation
There is menstruation associated secondary insomnia called premenstrual insomnia. It is a sleep problem experienced by some women because of menstrual pain and other symptoms of menstruation.
Premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD) or severe premenstrual syndrome can also cause insomnia. In women, this condition causes anxiety, severe depression, a lack of interest in daily activities, panic attacks, irritability, tension and trouble sleeping. Occasionally, some women who suffer from this disorder may have suicidal thoughts. It is important to stress that this severe disorder is very different from premenstrual syndrome (PMS) which is a series of physical symptoms that women have from 5 or 10 days before the menstrual cycle.
Insomnia during pregnancy
Insomnia during pregnancy is one of the most common issues in pregnant women. In addition, psychological factors such as fears and insecurities related to pregnancy, childbirth and future motherhood can be added to these hormonal changes.
Menopause and sleep problems
Menopause may also cause trouble sleeping in women. During menopause, the production of estrogen and progesterone (a hormone that stimulates sleep) decreases. In this period, women may also experience changes in their body temperature and suffer from hot flashes at night that can disrupt sleep. During menopause, women can also experience psychological changes that may affect their sleep such as stress, depression or anxiety.