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What Every Woman Should Know About Sleep Problems

What Every Woman Should Know About Sleep Problems

Sleepless nights lead to unhappy, stressed days that can have a real impact on your health. And unfortunately, women tend to have more sleep problems than men. For some, it may start with the birth of a child and those newborn night feedings. For others, menopause brings night sweats and hot flashes that wake you in the middle of the night. Add worries about relationships, work or financial issues, and it’s a wonder woman get any restful sleep at all!

Here are some of the most common reasons you may be tossing and turning:


More than 70% of women complain of sleep problems during their monthly menstrual cycle, when hormone levels are at their lowest. Symptoms like bloating and cramping can be severe enough to disturb sleep patterns at least two days during each monthly cycle.

As you enter perimenopause, your ovaries produce lower amounts of estrogen and progesterone, key hormones needed to help regulate sleep. As your hormone levels fluctuate, you can experience hot flashes and night sweats, the two most common side effects of menopause.Talk to your gynecologist about treatments that can help with some of your menstrual and menopause related symptoms and allow you to get a better night’s sleep.


Single, working moms are the most sleep-deprived people in America, reporting less than six hours of sleep a night. Anxiety about balancing work and family, dealing with unhealthy relationships, and making sure bills are paid are only a few of the worries keeping single moms from getting the rest they need.

Eating habits can also affect how quickly you fall and stay asleep. Caffeine, alcohol consumption and eating large meals too close to bedtime are common habits that, when adjusted, can have impactful effects on your night’s sleep.

Whether it’s a TV, computer or smart phone, screen time can play a part in keeping you from falling asleep at night. Consider eliminating these stimulants from your bedtime routine and make your bedroom quiet, dark, and relaxing.

Sleep Disorders

If you have tried all the suggestions - but somehow you still can’t get a good night’s sleep, a sleep disorder could be to blame. Here are the most common culprits:

  • Sleep apnea- This is when your sleep is interrupted because of a pause in breathing. This pause occurs because the body must wake itself up to get the oxygen it needs. Apnea can occur anywhere from five or more times a night to hundreds of times. Sleep apnea is directly tied to an increased risk in heart disease and diabetes. It is more common among those who are overweight and affects men more than women, however rates of sleep apnea increase sharply in women after menopause. Signs of sleep apnea can include snoring, morning headache, dry mouth, excessive daytime sleepiness, and irritability.
  • Snoring- If your own snoring wakes you up at night there could be a larger problem. Snoring can be a warning sign for sleep apnea. When your body wakes itself up, the gasp for air can sound like a snore. Snoring can be a problem whether it’s your own or your partner’s.
  • Restless legs syndrome (RLS)- RLS is a common genetic, neurologic disorder that is considerably more common in women than in men. Those with RLS experience unpleasant leg sensations and an uncontrollable urge to move the legs to relieve the feelings. RLS is worse at night when trying to relax and fall or stay asleep. Iron deficiencies and decreased estrogen levels after menopause often contribute to the increased risk factor of RLS in women.

Before talking to your doctor, it may be beneficial to track your sleep to determine how much sleep you are getting and when. Most smart watches and fitness trackers do that for you! Don’t just focus on the night’s you don’t sleep well- make note of what’s consistent on the nights that you do sleep well.

Talk to your doctor if you have trouble sleeping or if you or your partner have noticed signs of sleep apnea. A sleep specialist can order a sleep apnea test that can help your treat and resolve sleep problems. Click here to learn about Baton Rouge General’s sleep services or call our Sleep Center at (225) 763-4335 for more information.