How Do Women's Sleep Disorders Work?
Women's sleep is affected by a variety of circumstances. Hormonal changes, stress, sickness, lifestyle, and the sleep environment may all affect sleep.
Women are twice as likely as males to have trouble sleeping or staying asleep. Younger women sleep more soundly and with fewer interruptions. Throughout their reproductive years, some women are prone to sleep issues. Women's health for sleep issues has only lately become the subject of medical attention.
Sleep may be threatened more by psychosocial stress than by biological changes. To deal with the workload and their obligations as moms and spouses, many young women cut down on sleep. They overlook weariness and other side effects of insufficient sleep. Sleep issues are reported by a large percentage of working women. Women over the age of 40 are more likely to have sleep issues.
Getting adequate sleep helps with work performance, focus, social engagement, and overall happiness. Sleep might be disrupted by pregnancy. Women need more sleep during the first trimester and feel sleepier throughout the day. Sleep improves throughout the second trimester. Women sleep less and are more alert during the third trimester. Frequent urination, heartburn, general discomfort, foetal movements, low back pain, leg cramps, and nightmares are the most prevalent causes of sleep disruptions. During pregnancy, nasal tube swelling may induce snoring and sleep apnea. Following delivery, the newborn's erratic sleep pattern may have a major influence on the mother's sleep.
In menopausal and postmenopausal women, pain, sadness, stress, certain medical problems, drugs, and respiratory issues may all disrupt sleep.
Insomnia is the most frequent sleep disorder among women. This might involve difficulty getting asleep, remaining asleep, or waking up too early, as well as an inability to return to sleep. Sleep-disordered breathing, restless legs syndrome, periodic limb movement disorder, and narcolepsy are all frequent sleep disorders.
- Loud snoring, irregular breathing during sleep, disturbed sleep, and daytime tiredness are all symptoms of sleep-disordered breathing. Sleep apnea is more common in women over 50.
- Sleep disturbances such as restless legs syndrome (RLS) and periodic limb movement disorder (PLMD) are common. The aetiology of these disorders is unclear, however, they are often linked to a lack of iron in the body. RLS occurs before sleep begins and is accompanied by a strong desire to move the legs in the evening. Movement relieves calf soreness and restlessness in the legs caused by RLS. Periodic leg movements are a symptom of PLMD and might wake a person up. RLS may lead to sleeplessness. Excessive drowsiness may be caused by PLMD. Both disorders are more prevalent among the elderly.
What Causes Women's Sleep Disorders?
- Changes in hormone levels throughout the menstrual cycle might disrupt sleep and make you sleepy during the day. Hormonal impacts may be direct, such as altering sleeping habits, or indirect, such as influencing mood and emotional state. Premenstrual symptoms are reported by up to 80% of women.
- Hot flashes may occur when menopausal oestrogen levels decline, disrupting sleep. Sleep issues affect almost two-thirds of menopausal women. Lower oestrogen levels in menopausal women have been related to an increased incidence of snoring and sleep-disordered breathing.
- Many women in today's culture juggle the tasks of wife, mother, parent carer, and worker. They typically sleep less since they have less time for themselves. Long-term insomnia is connected to sleep deprivation and stress.
- Primary sleep disturbances may also be caused by work and lifestyle choices. Women working rotational and night shifts are more prone to have sleep issues. Inactivity and a lack of exercise might make it difficult to fall asleep. Women who have inconsistent schedules or varied weekend sleep habits are more likely to have problems resetting their body clocks.
- Caffeine, nicotine, or other stimulating substances taken close to bedtime may keep a woman awake. Alcohol may disrupt sleep and create nightmares.
- Women are more likely than males to suffer from depression and anxiety, which may lead to sleep problems. These are linked to the menstrual cycle in certain women. Anxiety may make it difficult to fall asleep, while despair can trigger early morning awakenings.
- In postmenopausal women, sleep-disordered breathing is prevalent. Sleep apnea causes many breathing cessations during sleep. The difficulty breathing that results disrupts sleep and may induce weariness throughout the day. High blood pressure and cardiovascular disease are connected to sleep apnea.
- Snoring is a sign of a partially blocked airway. High blood pressure and an increased risk of sleep apnea have been related to snoring. Snoring becomes more common during pregnancy, especially in the third trimester. It has been associated with high blood pressure during pregnancy, pre-eclampsia, and low childbirth weight. Sleep-disordered breathing is not more common in pregnant women, but it is crucial to have pregnant women who snore or are exceedingly exhausted assessed. Both the woman and her unborn child are at risk of sleep apnea is not addressed.
- In elderly women, sleep difficulties are more frequent.
- A woman's chance of developing a sleep disturbance rises if she is overweight or obese.
What Are the Signs and Symptoms of Women's Sleep Disorders?
There are three main signs and symptoms of sleep disorders. Overlap occurs often.
- Having trouble falling asleep is more frequent among younger women. Anxiety problems and a stressful lifestyle are often connected to it.
- Multiple sleep awakenings: Multiple sleep awakenings are more prevalent in elderly women. This symptom might suggest a problem of periodic limb movement (PLMD). Multiple awakenings during sleep may be caused by arthritis, discomfort, drugs, and the final trimester of pregnancy.
- Excessive daytime drowsiness: PLMD and sleep-disordered breathing may produce excessive daytime sleepiness in older postmenopausal women. In younger women, sleep deprivation and narcolepsy are more likely to produce extreme drowsiness.
What Exams and Tests Are Used to Diagnose Women's Sleep Disorders?
If you're experiencing trouble sleeping, the first step is to get a thorough medical examination. Medical and psychological issues, physical symptoms, medicines, family medical problems, menstruation and pregnancy history, work-life, habits, and lifestyle will all be discussed.
- Overnight sleep studies, also known as polysomnograms, may be performed at a sleep disorders clinic, at home, or in a hospital. The equipment captures EEG (sleep patterns), respiration patterns, ECG, eye movements, and changes in muscle tone, depending on the kind of testing conducted.
- MSLT (multiple sleep latency test): This test determines how sleepy you are throughout the day. Following a supervised nighttime polysomnogram, it is done throughout the day.
- Log of sleep: A sleep log is a record of your sleeping and waking patterns. You will be required to maintain an asleep and daytime sleepiness journal for two weeks. This journal may aid with the diagnosis of circadian rhythm problems and irregular sleep habits.
How to sleep fast (Self-Care at Home)
The term "sleep hygiene" refers to the behaviours and lifestyles that help people sleep well. Improved sleep hygiene is often recommended by your health care physician.
- Regardless of when you went to bed, try to get up at the same time every day.
- Long daytime naps should be avoided, although a short daily sleep may be beneficial.
- Daily exercise is recommended, but not in the hours leading up to tonight.
- In bed, do not read or watch television.
- Do not let bedtime concern you.
- Maintain a healthy diet and meal schedule.
- Before going to bed, avoid alcohol, coffee, and nicotine.
- Spend time resting and indulging in calming activities shortly before bed.
- Create a bedtime ritual for yourself.
- Maintain a pleasant nocturnal atmosphere by adjusting the temperature, noise, and light levels.
- To bed, wear loose-fitting, comfortable clothing.
- If you can't fall asleep in 30 minutes, get out of bed and do something relaxing, like listening to gentle music or reading. During these periods, avoid strong light exposure.
- During the day, get enough bright light exposure.
- Obese, chronic, loud snorers may benefit from weight reduction. Before going to bed, avoid alcohol and sedatives. Avoid sleeping on your back as well. You may avoid sleeping on your back by taping a tennis ball to the back of your bedclothes.
What Medications Are Used to Treat Women's Sleep Disorders?
Sleep problems are treated with both short-term and long-term pharmacological treatments and sleeping tablets. Sleeping tablets are a kind of short-term medication used to treat insomnia. Sleeping pills are sometimes known as hypnotics or sedatives. The idea is to minimise insomnia without compromising attentiveness throughout the day. The therapy is just for 2-4 weeks. During this time, the health care professional addresses the underlying cause of the sleep disturbance.
Insomnia and frequent sleep awakenings may be reduced with good sleep practices. Women may sleep better and avoid more significant sleep issues by managing stress and keeping a healthy weight.