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The Relation between sleep & Women's health

According to recent reports, women tend to suffer more from sleep issues and poor sleep quality than men. The reasons for sleep issues are numerous, including hormonal changes or imbalances. So, how does the sleep quality or quantity affect a woman's health? Read on to know all about it.

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The Importance of Sleep for Women's Health

Sleep is a crucial aspect of health for both men and women. However, women often face unique challenges that can disrupt their sleep, such as hormonal fluctuations throughout the menstrual cycle, the mental load of being a primary caregiver, and the demands of multitasking. In fact, these factors can often lead to more fatigue than physical labour. This is why ensuring good quality sleep is particularly vital for women.

How Much Sleep Do Women Need?

An average adult needs about 7 hours of undisturbed sleep every night. Women need just a little more. While some reports say a few hours, some say women need about 11 minutes more sleep than men. Reports also show that most women record less than 6 hours of sleep every night, which in turn leads to chronic sleep deprivation.

What Affects a Woman's Sleep?

Some common reasons that affect a woman's sleep are:

  • Hormones – Menstruation, pregnancy and menopause cause severe fluctuations in a woman's hormones. They can cause issues like cramps, headaches, bloating, indigestion, etc.., which can impact sleep quality. It can even lead to insomnia in some women.
  • Pregnancy – During pregnancy, a woman can find it challenging to find the right position to sleep in. Pregnancy can also affect her sleep-wake cycle, leading to sleep disturbance.
  • Hot Flashes – Hormonal fluctuations during menopause or pregnancy can cause hot flashes, which can not only affect a woman's sleep quality but can make it difficult to even fall asleep at times.
  • Others – Mood swings or depression caused by hormonal imbalance during or post pregnancy, during menopause can affect sleep quality. General stress, erratic meal times, not following a proper routine, or exposure to blue light close to blue light can all affect a woman's sleep quality.

How Does Lack of Sleep Affect Women?

Unhealthy sleep patterns and lack of sleep affect women differently and more severely than it affects men. Lack of sleep can affect women in the following ways:

  • Hypertension – Tossing and turning at night can disrupt the circadian rhythm and increase blood pressure.
  • Diabetes – The lack of sufficient sleep can interfere with the way the body synthesises glucose, thus increasing the risk of type 2 diabetes.
  • Weight Gain – Staying up for long hours at night can lead to hunger pangs or mindless eating, which can increase weight. It can also affect metabolism, which can again lead to weight gain.
  • Depression – Not getting enough sleep can affect the hormonal balance, leading to mood swings or depression. It can even affect your mental health in the long run.
  • Reduced Life Span – Studies show that chronic sleep deprivation or insufficient sleep can even reduce a woman's life span.
  • Heart Issues – Chronic sleep deprivation can increase the risk of vascular disease, heart attacks or stroke.
  • Menstrual Cycle – According to some reports, lack of sleep and menstrual cycle are related. Menstruating women who get less than 6 hours of sleep every night are more likely to suffer from menstrual issues like irregular periods and heavy bleeding during periods.

Symptoms of Lack of Sleep

The sleep requirement can vary from person to person. Though the general recommendation is about 7 to 9 hours of sleep every night, some may need more. You may be staying in bed but not getting good quality sleep. Here are some signs of sleep deprivation:

  • You fall asleep when you don't intend to.
  • You sleep in longer when not woken up.
  • Despite sleeping all night, you feel tired, fatigued or lethargic.
  • You yawn constantly.
  • You are irritable or experience mood swings for no reason.
  • Feeling unmotivated or lacking the energy to do even your daily routine.
  • You take small or frequent naps.
  • Trouble focusing or remembering.

Why Seek Help?

Many women tend to neglect the need for good-quality sleep. If a woman is unable to sleep well despite having the time, wakes up frequently, experiences anxiety, or does not feel rested enough despite sleeping all night, she needs to consult a doctor. She might be suffering from some sleep disorder or other health issues that are affecting her sleep. Ignoring such symptoms can cause serious issues in the long run.

How to Get Better Sleep?

Here are some tips to improve your sleep quality, which can have a great impact on your health:

  • Follow a bedtime routine to train your body to go to sleep around the same time every night.
  • Avoid screen time close to bedtime, as the blue light can disrupt your sleep cycle.
  • Ensure you are neither hungry nor too full when you go to bed.
  • A glass of warm milk can help you drift into a relaxed sleep.
  • Practice yoga or other relaxing techniques an hour before bedtime to help your body relax enough to fall asleep.
  • If you are experiencing panic attacks, anxiety or other mental issues, seek professional help.


More research shows how important good-quality sleep is for women. Sleep cannot be considered a waste of time for women who try to juggle too many responsibilities. Do not hesitate to seek help, as it can help you in many ways.


1. How does sleep affect women's health?

Lack of sufficient or good quality sleep can disrupt a woman's hormonal balance, cause mood swings, weight gain, type 2 diabetes, or even affect her mental health.

2. How do women's hormones affect sleep?

Hormones like progesterone, estrogen and testosterone can affect sleep quality and even lead to insomnia. The hormones constantly fluctuate throughout a woman's menstrual cycle and can influence how many hours she sleeps.

3. What are the side effects of lack of sleep?

Hypertension, type 2 diabetes, insomnia, sleep apnea, mood swings, depression, weight gain, lethargy, inability to focus or remember are some of the side effects of not getting enough sleep.

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