Why do women have more sleep issues than men?

Elise Petit, MD

Our overall health and well-being depend on getting enough sleep, but sadly, many people experience sleep-related problems. Millions of people around the world suffer from sleep disorders, with women being more susceptible than men. Studies have shown that women are more likely than men to experience sleep issues for a variety of reasons, including hormones, pregnancy, and lifestyle choices.

Hormones are one of the main factors that cause sleep issues in women. Throughout the menstrual cycle, women's hormone levels change, which may have an impact on how well they sleep. In the luteal phase, the second half of the menstrual cycle when estrogen and progesterone levels are high, women reported having more trouble falling asleep and staying asleep, according to a study in the Journal of Sleep Research. Additionally, because estrogen levels fall during menopause, which can cause hot flashes and night sweats, women are more likely to experience sleep disturbances.

Women who are pregnant may experience sleep disturbances. Many pregnant women experience discomfort, which can impair their ability to get a good night's sleep, including back pain, heartburn, and restless leg syndrome. According to a study in the Journal of Obstetric, Gynecologic and Neonatal Nursing, hormonal changes and physical discomfort make pregnant women more likely than non-pregnant women to have sleep disturbances.

Sleep quality can also be affected by lifestyle choices. The fact that women are more likely than men to be responsible for tasks like childcare and housework can cause stress and anxiety. Stress can lead to sleep issues like difficulty falling asleep, difficulty staying asleep, or waking up early. Women are also more likely to work longer hours and with a heavier workload, which can affect how well they sleep. According to a study in the Journal of Sleep Research, women who work more than 35 hours a week are more likely to experience sleep issues than those who work fewer hours.

In conclusion, a number of factors, such as hormones, pregnancy, and lifestyle choices, make women more likely than men to have sleep issues. Women's overall health and well-being may be significantly impacted by these sleep problems, which emphasizes the need for better resources and education to assist women in managing their sleep health. We can work to develop more practical solutions and raise the standard of sleep for everyone if we are aware of the particular difficulties that women experience with sleep.


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  1. Mindell, J. A., Cook, R. A., Nikolovski, J., & Matos-Moreno, A. (2009). Sleep patterns and sleep disturbances across pregnancy. Sleep Medicine, 10(7), 735-737. doi: 10.1016/j.sleep.2008.06.013


  1. Williams, N. J., Grandner, M. A., Snipes, S. A., Rogers, A., Williams, O., & Airhihenbuwa, C. O. (2016). Racial/ethnic disparities in sleep health and potential interventions among women. Journal of Women's Health, 25(6), 584-591. doi: 10.1089/jwh.2015.5532


  1. Åkerstedt, T., Ghilotti, F., Grotta, A., Zhao, H., & Adami, H. O. (2017). Sleep duration and mortality - Does weekend sleep matter?. Journal of Sleep Research,


March 10, 2023
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