Sleep Disorders and What Women Should Know

Studies show that women are more susceptible to sleep ailments than men are.  Women’s hormones are one of the reason for a night time of tossing, turning, getting up, going back to bed and even more ways to not get some much-needed sleep.  The fluctuations of hormone levels during pregnancy, after pregnancy, menstrual cycles, perimenopause, and the actual menopause are enough to keep us women awake at night.  Furthermore, women are more prone to napping and being sleepy during the day.  When you nap, it’s hard to sleep at night.

Sleep disorders do not discriminate with race the same as many medical conditions do.  Lack of good sleep can cause heart problems, high blood pressure, and obesity.  Sleep lets our body and mind rest—to recharge our batteries, so to speak, for another day of delights tomorrow.  Even iron wears out!

It seems younger women sleep better than older women according to research.  Sleep issues tend to bother women during their child-bearing years.

Some of the reasons for women’s sleep or lack of sleep tendencies can be:

  • Menstruationcauses an influx of hormones creating aching backs and moodiness, including not being able to sleep. There can be a heaviness around the mid-body and it doesn’t feel good.  After the weekly or so period is finished, sleep seems to return to normal.  Not all women have this problem however.  The vacillations of estrogen visits about 80% of all women and they might be moody and emotional during their monthly cycle.


  • Pregnancyhas its ebb and flow with hormones too. For most women, the entire 9 months is inundated with hormone changes.  Sleeping is affected too.  In the first trimester, women need more sleep at night and naps during the day.  The second trimester is a bit more restful.  The third trimester starts the unpleasant and wavering times with acid reflux, heartburn, the urge to urinate all the time with the baby moving about now on into the fourth month of pregnancy and until delivery.  Nausea and morning sickness are usually over with by the third trimester.  Women start having lower back pain in the coccyx area and that keeps them awake at night.  They might snore and have nasal swelling keeping them from sleep too.


  • Menopause—as women get older, they show changes in hormones with sleep problems. Women seem to be on edge, restless during the day, with some irritability.  At night, the sweats keep them awake along with hot flashes that also occur during the day.  It is not a fun time for women and it’s due to the decline in estrogen production.  Sleep seems to be a dream away so women being awake at night is frequent.  Some women during menopause tend to undergo breathing issues with sleep disorders.  What follows is loud snoring that will awaken them.  The sporadic broken up sleep keeps them from having the deep REM sleep needed to feel rested the next day.  Most women cannot get back to sleep so they’re tired the next day and the cycle continues.  When women are over age 50, sleep apnea might occur, a sleep disorder caused by airway obstruction or a disturbance in the respiratory center in the brain.  Have this checked by your doctor.


  • Insomnia—for women who have a hard time getting to sleep just to wake up during the night to be wide awake or being unable to get to sleep after their heads hit the pillow is a common problem with us today. Then when women do get to sleep it’s hard to get up on time to get ready for work or whatever needs to be done for the day if they don’t work.  They also find it hard to fall back to sleep after waking up in the middle of the night.  Mental and physical stress can be the culprits.  Many working moms seem to disregard their signs such as being sleepy during the day.  Insomnia with women today is often attributed to the countless number of things they do for themselves if single, for the family if married or a single parent, for the kids if they have kids, or other family members such as elders, the sick, and their own professional duties when they work outside the home.  All the things women are tasked to do in today’s society cannot be mentioned here because they are diversified and the women are getting no sleep and have no down time for themselves.  If hormones are involved, matters accelerate.  Have a cup of chamomile tea with a small turkey sandwich (tryptophan) and see if you can get to sleep now.  Discuss this with your doctor for some help.


  • Contributors to a Sleepless Night

Women at times find it relaxing to have a cup of coffee or tea (caffeine) or even a smoke (nicotine) to relieve stress.  Stimulants close to going to bed will usually keep you awake, although it has been said nicotine makes some people relaxed enough to be sleepy.  Alcohol can help you relax, but if coffee is consumed afterwards sleep will not come and a frantic night ensues.  Caffeine stays in the blood stream for up to 6 hours after consumed.  Nicotine stays in the blood stream 72 hours and if you quit smoking is then gone forever.


  • Sleeplessness Due to Obesity

Added weight can cause sleep problems for some women.  A number of women can tell the difference with a weight gain of only 5 or 6 pounds.  Younger women are typically overweight due to an unhealthy way of life that is stressful.  These women have a harder time falling to sleep.

Not being able to stay asleep after falling asleep can be related to the last trimester during pregnancy, menopause, restless leg syndrome, arthritis, and other health reasons.  Pain medication can also keep women awake.  Visiting with your doctor, having a soothing massage, and even exercise can help.

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