What causes sleep disorders in women?

48% of the adult population suffers from insomnia at some level, a problem to which our hormones make us more prone.

48% of the adult population suffers from a sleep disorder. A problem to which women are more prone and that finds its main reason in hormones , specifically in two: estrogen and progesterone. Symptoms may appear at different times in a woman’s life and for very different reasons.

Insomnia can make us feel tired, anxious, or more irritable in the short term, but over time, this lack of sleep can increase the risk of health problems such as diabetes and high blood pressure, heart disease, stroke, and obesity.

Sleep disorders due to the menstrual cycle

One of the reasons why women are more prone to insomnia is due to the hormonal changes that occur during the menstrual cycle, especially in the days before the menstrual period, where many women report having problems falling asleep or staying asleep. asleep. This is very common in women who have premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD), a more serious type of premenstrual syndrome (PMS).

Sleep disorders in menopause

Perimenopause and menopause, when hot flashes and night sweats can disrupt sleep.

In the case of menopause, there are two sleep disorders that acquire special relevance: insomnia and sleep apnea syndrome. Two hormones are key in this period of female maturity. Estrogen, which acts in the REM sleep phase, and progesterone, which does so in deep sleep.

Sleep disorders in pregnancy

During pregnancy, estrogen can increase up to 1000 times, and generate a decrease in REM sleep, the deepest, increased superficial sleep. This is why despite sleeping more hours this sleep is fragmented and less efficient.

15% of pregnant women snore, caused by weight gain and estrogens that alter the upper airway of the throat, generating edema. The walls of the throat swell, making it difficult for air to enter and exit, which causes apnea and snoring.

The more the abdomen increases towards the end of the gestation period, the more this symptom is accentuated and, although snoring can be perfectly normal, in some cases it can be dangerous, such as when you have preeclampsia (a complication of pregnancy).

Diet also plays an important role in the quality of sleep during and after pregnancy for the mother and the baby. As well as women’s sensitivity to noise, especially when they have a newborn child and having to wake up every so often to breastfeed.

Sleep disorders and anxiety

Some health problems that secondary insomnia can cause are more common in women, such as depression and anxiety. People with insomnia are 10 times more likely to have depression and 17 times more likely to suffer from anxiety.

Researchers don’t know for sure whether mental health conditions cause insomnia or the other way around, but what is certain is that not getting enough sleep can make mental health conditions worse.

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