There is no question that women generally get less sleep than men. They are raising young children and have significant hormone fluctuations making it harder to catch those necessary zzzz’s. In fact, the Society for Women’s Health Research found that women are 1.4 times more likely to report insomnia than men.
But, research shows there is more to it than that. A study published by the Sleep Research Society and the American Academy of Sleep Medicine reports that women have a higher genetic risk of developing insomnia than men.
Part of the increased risk of insomnia is also attributed to women being more prone to mood disorders like anxiety and depression. Many of the same brain chemicals that are disrupted in someone with a mood disorder are also involved in regulating sleep.
And, what about time? There is just not enough time in the day to do everything. In addition to being the primary caregivers of their children, women are also the primary caregivers of their elderly parents. Coupled with the desire to hold careers outside of the home, women are forced to decrease their sleep time to complete all their responsibilities.
It is exhausting.
If you are suffering from insomnia, what can you do?
Therapy can help.
Talking to a licensed professional counselor can help to align your priorities and figure out an appropriate schedule. Therapy can also help teach healthy coping skills to combat symptoms of mood disorders so you aren’t staying up all night worrying.
If you experience chronic insomnia, three or more nights a week, then you should consider seeking the help of your health care provider or sleep medicine specialist. There are solutions to help curb the frequency of sleepless nights.
Sleep is important to our overall health, and especially our mental wellbeing. When we don’t get enough restful hours we are more easily agitated, anxious, short-tempered, emotional, and it is hard to think clearly and focus. So many women put sleep to the side, they don’t feel like they have the time to get the hours in, but it is so important.