- A 2012 congressional briefing hosted by the Society for Women’s Health Research found that women are 1.4 times more likely to report insomnia than men.
- According to the National Sleep Foundation, 63 percent of women report symptoms of insomnia several nights per week, compared to only 54 percent of men.
- 74 percent of stay-at-home moms report symptoms of insomnia.
Why Are Insomnia Side Effects Greater in Women?
Considering that such a high percentage of moms (in particular) report insomnia side effects, a common hypothesis might be that it’s the hectic lifestyle modern women are living which causes them to lose so much sleep. After all, not only are more women taking over the breadwinner role for their families, but those same women are also juggling the primary parenting role at the same time.
WebMD is quick to point out, however, that a hectic lifestyle isn’t the only thing causing women to lose sleep; it’s their hormones. “More than 70 percent of women complain of sleep problems during menstruation, when hormone levels are at their lowest,” says Amy Wolfson, Ph.D. and author of The Woman’s Book of Sleep: A Complete Resource Guide.
Along those same lines, pregnancy is often cited to explain the overall spike in female insomnia statistics. As explained by Dr. Helene Emsellem, MD, director of The Center for Sleep & Wake Disorders, “Pregnancy hormonal changes can lead to changes in sleepiness (either feeling more or less sleepy), as well as an increased risk of restless legs syndrome.” Dr. Emsellem also added that 35 to 40 percent of menopausal women have sleep problems, which again draws a connection to fluctuating female hormones across multiple stages of a woman’s life. In both cases, hot flashes and night sweats can be common culprits that prevent women from getting quality sleep. Womenshealth.gov adds that medical conditions such as depression, anxiety, and fibromyalgia are also more prevalent in women than women, and all can lead to increased insomnia.
According to Womenshealth.gov (which is an official website of the US Dept. of Health and Human Services), effective treatment of insomnia requires that we first learn to differentiate primary insomnia from secondary insomnia. Womenshealth.gov claims that primary insomnia is not a symptom or side effect of another condition (such as those listed above), but is its own disorder. Secondary insomnia, on the other hand, is far more common because it can be linked to any number of other medical disorders that inhibit sleep.
As far as treatments are concerned, the US Dept. of Health and Human Services emphasize the importance of addressing any secondary causes of your insomnia first. Mental and medical health conditions should be addressed by a doctor before trying to solve your sleeplessness woes with any home remedy or behavioral changes. As alternatives to sleeping pills, the U.S. Dept. of Health and Human Services specifically cites Cognitive Behavioral Therapy as a highly effective method of treating primary insomnia. They claim that CBT helps you by changing your core thoughts and actions getting in the way of sleep.
Change the Way You Sleep
For those of us who suffer from occasional sleeplessness, but aren’t affected to the point of labeling it a severe medical conditioning requiring a physician, it’s important that we address the obvious. Our sleep environment involves considering all the physical variables around us that relate to how well we sleep, including everything from whether or not we sleep with the TV on or have the ideal pillow nestled between our knees.
Perhaps, most obvious of all is whether or not we’re truly sleeping on the absolute highest quality mattress we can get our hands on. If you haven’t shopped for a luxury mattress lately, it’s time you got to your nearest retailer to see just how far design advances have come. Spink & Edgar luxury mattresses incorporate not only the most luxurious, natural comfort layers (like wool, hemp, and fine linen), but they provide the ideal support structure through an advanced network of several thousand coils and micro coils. The result is an unparalleled sleep surface that just might surprise you in terms of how it can improve mild symptoms of insomnia.
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