Unique Causes of Insomnia in Women

Rahul Shivkumar's profile picture
Rahul Shivkumar
Jan 2, 20234 min read

Unique Causes of Insomnia in Women

Insomnia is a common sleep disorder that can affect anyone, but it is more prevalent in women than in men. If you're a woman struggling with insomnia, you may be wondering what could be causing your sleep difficulties. Hormonal fluctuations, such as those that occur during menstruation, pregnancy, and menopause, can disrupt the body's natural sleep-wake cycle and lead to difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep. Stress and anxiety, poor sleep hygiene, medical conditions, and certain medications, including several that are more common among women, such as antidepressants, can also contribute to insomnia.

Hormonal Fluctations Specific to Women Can Cause Insomnia

Women have it harder than men when it comes to hormonal fluctuations. Women are more likely to experience insomnia during times of hormonal imbalance, such as during menstruation, pregnancy, and menopause. These fluctuations can disrupt the body's natural sleep-wake cycle, leading to difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep. Some such changes include:

  • Menstruation: During the menstrual cycle, hormone levels can fluctuate significantly. These changes can disrupt the body's natural sleep-wake cycle and lead to difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep.
  • Pregnancy: Hormonal changes during pregnancy can also affect sleep. The hormone progesterone, which is produced in higher levels during pregnancy, can make it more difficult to fall asleep. In addition, the physical discomfort and changes that come with pregnancy, such as back pain and frequent urination, can also interfere with sleep.
  • Menopause: The hormonal changes that occur during menopause can also disrupt sleep. The hormone estrogen, which declines during menopause, plays a role in regulating the body's sleep-wake cycle. As estrogen levels decrease, sleep may become disrupted. Hot flashes, night sweats, and other menopausal symptoms can also interfere with sleep.

Medications More Common Among Women Can Contribute to Insomnia

Some medications, such as antidepressants and stimulants, can interfere with sleep and cause insomnia. According to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), women are more likely than men to take antidepressants. In a survey conducted from 2011-2014, it was found that 12.7% of women in the United States aged 20 and over reported taking antidepressants in the past month, compared to 6.1% of men.

There are several reasons why women may be more likely to take antidepressants. One reason is that women are more likely to experience certain conditions that are treated with antidepressants, such as depression and anxiety. In addition, women may be more likely to seek treatment for mental health conditions due to societal expectations and stigma surrounding mental health in men.

It's important to note that this data reflects the prevalence of antidepressant use in the general population and does not necessarily reflect the prevalence of use among individuals with insomnia specifically. However, if you're taking antidepressants and experiencing insomnia, it's important to speak with a healthcare professional about whether your medication could be contributing to your sleep difficulties. They may be able to suggest alternative medications or adjust your dosage to help alleviate your insomnia.

There are several other contributors to Insomnia in women, including:

Stress and anxiety: Stress and anxiety are common triggers for insomnia in both men and women. However, women may be more susceptible to the effects of stress due tothe hormone cortisol, which can interfere with sleep.

Poor sleep hygiene: Sleep hygiene refers to the habits and practices that contribute to healthy sleep. Poor sleep hygiene, such as consuming caffeine or alcohol before bed, using screens late at night, and having an irregular sleep schedule, can all contribute to insomnia. These aren’t specific to women, but are causal among both genders.

Medical conditions: Certain medical conditions, such as asthma, chronic pain, and restless leg syndrome, can cause sleep disturbances and lead to insomnia.

CBT-I: A Long-Term Sleep Solution

Many people choose natural treatments to boost health and improve sleep. However, Relaxium Sleep has not been well studied, and its safety and effectiveness aren’t yet understood.

Cognitive behavioral therapy for insomnia (CBT-I) is a natural, side effect-free insomnia treatment. It involves relearning your sleep habits and addressing issues that are getting in the way of quality sleep. Studies show that CBT-I works as well as or better than sleep medications and has effects that last even after the treatment is done.1

Fill out Dawn Health’s questionnaire to get started with CBT-I right from your computer — no in-person visits necessary. Quality, natural sleep is possible when you embark on a CBT-I treatment journey.

Rahul Shivkumar's profile picture
Rahul Shivkumar

Software Engineer & Sleep Enthusiast

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