These are all the reasons women get less sleep than men...
Everyone’s got things that keep them up at night, but a batch of new evidence has recently come to light suggesting that we women sleep less than men due to several biological and social conditions.
According to a recent study, 43% of women in the UK don’t get enough shut-eye and insomnia has always been proven to be more prevalent in women than in men for various reasons. Our biological make-up (hormones, pregnancy etc), stress and staying glued to the ‘gram late at night all impact on how many zzz’s we catch.
But if you’re anything like us, you REALLY want a bit more kip, so to help, we’ve compiled a list of the most compelling evidence as to why woman can’t nod off easily, so hopefully we can make a few changes and get some proper sleep…
You can’t sleep because… of social media
Extreme social media use is stopping us from switching off and, because women use social network way more than men, we’re more likely to get addicted to that late-night-scroll than them. However, frequenting our networks in the day is apparently disrupting our kip too. A US study of 1,788 people found that participants who regularly checked their accounts throughout the day tripled their probability of sleep disruptions, compared to those who don’t log-in at all. And the most disruptive behaviour online before bed? That would be posting photos on Instagram and engaging in discussion on Facebook – these promote emotional, cognitive and psychological arousal that you don’t want when you’re winding down. And don’t even get us started on how bad that bright light emitted from our phones is for us; studies show it prevents our body’s ability to produce the sleep hormone melatonin – hence why Apple are introducing a new responsive phone feature that will change the light settings depending on time and location. Anything to keep us off social media at night is a welcome addition to our lives, we reckon.
You can’t sleep because… of periods and contraception
The female body contains significantly more oestrogen than the male body and these hormones fluctuate throughout our lives – particularly during our menstrual cycle. Some women suffer from menstrual cramps, bloating, mood changes, breast tenderness or nausea, which can keep them up at night, and hormonal contraceptions, such as the pill, implant or injection, can also play havoc with our sleep patterns, as they jig our oestrogen levels about. If you think you’re oestrogen sensitive and it’s impacting your sleep, try switching birth control methods, or have a chat with your doctor.
You can’t sleep because… of bad ‘sleep-hygiene’
Certain repeated behaviours can have an impact on how easily you send yourself off to the land of nod each night, and having good ‘sleep-hygiene’ (i.e. a routine) is highly beneficial. Sleep expert Diane Augelli M.D. recently revealed to CNN that going to bed at the same time each night, sleeping in a cool room and exercising well before you want to sleep are all important factors. By sticking to the same routine each night, she reckons we can train our brain to recognise positive sleep signals and eventually get us into the swing of sleeping easily.
You can’t sleep because… you’re pregnant
A pregnant woman can suffer from swollen feet, mood changes, an increased need to pee and just general discomfort from carrying around a baby for nine months. There’s also the issue of restless leg syndrome which is about twice and common in women than in men, and is often experienced by women for the first time when carrying a baby. Speaking to CNN on the topic, Diane Augelli M.D. said: ‘When you’re pregnant, your blood volume expands so you have anaemia to some degree. One of the theories is that there’s not enough iron in a specific part of the brain that produces dopamine and that can trigger restless legs.’
You can’t sleep because… you’re stressed
Women generally suffer with stress, anxiety and depression more than men – we’re blaming burdens like childcare stress, career worries and even the gender pay gap. Unfortunately there’s no fail-safe way to overcome these issues (unless you’re able to turn the patriarch on its head overnight), but because shut-eye is crucial to our psychological and physical well-being, you can check out our top tips on getting a better night’s sleep. And if things get really bad, cognitive behavioural therapy with a professional can help your brain switch off at night.