Women and Sleep

Just like food, clothes and shelter, sleep is a basic human need. Like exercise, sleep contributes to the well being of all human beings. It is recommended that you sleep for about 8 hours a day. A study on women and sleep done by the National Sleep Foundation (NSF) showed that women aged between 30 and 60 slept for only 6 hours and 41 min in 1998.

Recent studies on women and sleep in America showed that women are more likely to experience sleep problems than men. With little sleep, women are hit harder by the symptoms of sleep deprivation. These signs include:

  • Daytime sleepiness.
  • Poor concentration.
  • Risk of causing accident.

Women and Sleep Women and Sleep Problems

Research on women and sleep has established a strong connection between sleep problems and weight gain. Insomnia can lead to depression and general dissatisfaction in life. To cover up these emotions, women are drawn to eat more than it is necessary.

A study on obesity, women and sleep showed that close to 35% of calories taken obese women are consumed at night. The idleness brought about by regular episodes of insomnia cause women to eat in order to keep busy. On the flipside, women and sleep specialists say that obese women are prone to sleep apnea which interferes with sleep.

Women and Sleep: Common Sleep Disorders among Women


Insomnia is the commonest sleep problem. Surveys on women and sleep show than women are more likely to suffer from insomnia. 63 % of women suffer regular symptoms of insomnia compared to only 54% among men. The following factors unique to women are blamed for the high rates:

  • Menstruation.
  • High calorie diets.
  • Pregnancy.
  • Menopause.
  • High cases of obesity.
  • Lack of exercises.

Of all the above factors, hormones have the most influence. Unlike in men, hormones in women keep changing rapidly at every stage in life.

Nocturnal Sleep-Related Eating Disorder (NS-RED)

A study on women and sleep showered that about 66% of NS-RED patients are women. In NS-RED, a person eats at night while they are, by all definitions, asleep. Most NS-RED patients characteristically do not remember eating because part of the brain controlling memory is asleep. This condition is associated with shallow unsatisfying sleep.


Women and sleep surveys have established that women suffer from pain at night. 1 in 4 women has had their sleep interrupted for up to 3 times in a week because of pain. The commonest pain conditions in women include:

  • Heartburn.
  • Headaches.
  • Lower back ache.
  • Rheumatic arthritis
Sleep Apnea

The relationship between sleep apnea and obesity has already been established above.  Sleep apnea is characterized by snoring since breathing is interrupted. It is estimated that 18 million Americans suffer from sleep apnea. In ages before 50’s the prevalence of sleep apnea is higher in men than women. Above the age of 50, women and sleep studies show that 1 in 4 women suffer from some degree of sleep apnea.

Women and Sleep: Important Tips

  • Try to lose weight and keep fit.
  • Your bedroom environment should be optimized for sleep. The bedroom should only be used for sleep and sex.
  • All drugs alcohol, caffeine and even nicotine have cause more episodes of insomnia in women than men. Therefore, they should be avoided.

Women and Sleep Video Education

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