These are all the reasons women get less sleep than men...
Everyone has a reason for not being able to get to sleep at night, but new evidence has recently come to light suggesting that women sleep less than men due to several biological and social conditions.
According to a recent study, 43% of UK women don’t get enough sleep due to sleep apnoea and insomnia Thanks to our biological make-up (hormones, pregnancy etc) these conditions have been proven to be more prevalent in women than in men. Add in daily stress and a bad habit for scrolling through Instagram into the wee hours of the morning, the majority of us are not getting enough shut eye.
But if you’re anything like us, you REALLY want a bit more kip. To help, we’ve compiled a list of the most compelling evidence as to why woman sleep less than men. Hopefully these simple changes can help us get a decent night’s sleep, for once.
You can’t sleep because of social media
Extreme social media use is stopping us from switching off. Reports show that women use social media more than men, so we’re more likely to get addicted to those late night scrolling sessions.
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 didn’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.
That’s not even taking into account how bad the bright light emitted from our phones is when it comes to nodding odd. Studies show this 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.
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. Thankfully experts have recently revealed the best position to sleep in for period cramps, along with the worst.
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 you have a bad ‘sleep-hygiene’
Certain repeated behaviours can have an impact on how easily you send yourself off to the land of nod each night. So having a 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.