In general women have a higher risk of experiencing sleep disorders and women are twice as likely to have difficulties falling asleep than men – women suffer from sleep disorders more often. There is a correlation between sleep disorders and women hormones. Main causes of sleep disorders in women include female hormonal cycles as well as often hormonal disturbances in women because of increased emotional reactions, high sensitivity to life problems and different types of stresses.
Sleep disorders in women are more common in older ages because of the lack of hormones and accumulated life treats and concerns. Younger women seem to have no or few sleep disturbances and/or sleep disorders.
Main female hormones involved in sleeping process are estrogens and progesterone which can trigger sleep disorders in women. Reduced concentrations of both hormones (especially rapidly dropping levels!) can cause sleep disorders in women, although estrogens and progesterone affect women body in different ways.
How estrogen fluctuations and decreased levels of estrogens can trigger sleeping disturbances and/or sleep disorders?
Once body recognize the estrogen deficit (decreased concentrations of estrogens in the blood), body slows down the intake and secondary production of magnesium. Magnesium is a necessary mineral responsible for muscles relaxation which is needed for restful sleep.
It is well known that reduced levels of estrogens are responsible for hot flashes and night sweats which usually interrupt normal sleeping cycle and as a results could trigger sleep disorders in women (especially after 50).
Scientists discovered that estrogen fluctuations and reduced levels of estrogens are responsible for disturbing breathing during the night which also can be a cause for chronic sleep disorders in women.
How progesterone fluctuations and decreased levels of progesterone can trigger sleeping disturbances and/or sleep disorders?
Hormone progesterone is known as relaxing and sleep inducing hormone. For example, during pregnancy body produce increased levels of progesterone to insure relaxed uterus (for normal baby development) and to insure enough sleep during pregnancy (for “covering” increased body activities). If level of progesterone decline in women body, it immediately affects sleeping ability and women start experiencing sleeping difficulties (reduced ability to fall asleep).
Medical professionals recognize that hormonal imbalance is generally the root cause of sleep disorders in women but psychological disturbances can also play a valuable role in sleep disorders in women.
SLEEP DISORDERS and Menstrual Cycle
Women hormones and sleep disorders
It is well known that by the end of the menstrual cycle female body experience fall of hormones (normal for regular healthy menstrual cycles) which usually coincide with menstrual periods. During periods women could experience lack of sleep and sleep disturbances not only because of decreased hormones but also because of breast tenderness, bloating, menstrual cramps and other menstruation side effects.
Moreover, for those who have regular healthy menstrual cycles, sleep disorders are just expected few days before their menstruation/period starts. Reduced concentrations of hormone progesterone by the end of the menstrual cycle could cause trouble sleeping and/or interrupted sleep.
SLEEP DISORDERS and Pregnancy
Pregnancy is another stressful period of women life. During pregnancy dramatic hormonal changes can change body rhythm and create sleeping problems and trigger sleeping disorders.
Physical changes during pregnancy and increased emotional reactions can also provoke sleep disorders. During the first trimester of pregnancy women usually sleep longer and take naps just for “covering” pregnancy development. In most cases sleep improves during the second trimester of pregnancy, but during third trimester of pregnancy sleep becomes disrupted due to increased weight, dramatic hormonal changes and emotional status (expectations and treats).
The most common sleep disorders associated with pregnancy include snoring and sleep apnea, due to nasal passages becoming swollen.
SLEEP DISORDERS and Menopause
The primary reason why menopausal women develop sleep disorders after 45-50 relates to the hormonal fluctuations (normal for mentioned age). When women reach the biological menopause age (different in different women), hormone levels rise and fall drastically, this causes sleep disorders. Usually, after 40-45 women experience the reduction of estrogen production by “old” ovaries.
Decreased levels of female hormones, specifically of estrogens and progesterone, affect women body triggering several menopause symptoms including sleeping disturbances and/or sleep disorders.
Troubled sleeping or not getting enough sleep or sleep disorders are not only the effect of mentioned hormonal changes. At 45-50 many women could have also psychological and/or emotional component which influence and provoke sleep disorders.
As there is a correlation between sleep disorders and women hormones, it is always useful to check hormones if you noted sleeping problems.
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Disclaimer: It is strongly recommended to consult your doctor for professional advice. Above mentioned information and recommendations are just general and should be adapted to each person according to personal health indicators and status.