Women are more likely than men to experience insomnia. A 2005 National Sleep Foundation poll found that 57% of women and 51% of men said they experienced a symptom of insomnia at least a few nights per week. Unfortunately, only seven percent of women reported receiving treatment for insomnia, according to a separate National Sleep Foundation poll.
Certain phases of the menstrual cycle, pregnancy, and menopause can all contribute uniquely to women’s sleep troubles. Sometimes, these biological changes disrupt sleep, but then unhealthy sleep habits maintain the pattern.
This is why keeping good sleep practices is important for women. In addition to general sleep hygiene recommendations, there are many steps that can improve your sleep.
- If your insomnia is caused by hormonal fluctuations and hot flashes, keep your room temperature cool and comfortable, and have a glass of water, a change of pajamas and an extra pillowcase by the bed if you sweat during the night.
- For insomnia during pregnancy, keep multiple pillows on hand during the night. Try sleeping on your side with one pillow at your back, one between your legs, and one to rest your arms on. Limit your fluid intake during the evening.
- For many women, insomnia is linked with depression. Relaxation exercises can help, but it’s important to see your doctor or a psychotherapist to address these symptoms as well. There are both medical and non-medical treatment options for insomnia.