When it feels like hormones already affect everything we do — our mood, our weight, our sexual function — it turns out they also can have a big impact on sleep for some women.
Studies have shown that sleep disturbance is incredibly common in menopausal or postmenopausal women, but hormones also can affect women’s sleep during their menstrual cycles and pregnancy.
Below, we’ll uncover the ways women lose sleep, what hormones do, and how Sleep Salts may help you get a more restful night’s sleep.
What’s the difference between men and women’s sleep patterns?
According to the National Sleep Foundation’s first “How America Sleeps” poll in 2014, while men and women’s sleep quantity is similar, 24% of women reported feeling they woke up well-rested zero days out of the past four days, versus 16% of men. Women are also more likely to report insomnia symptoms, while men are more likely to say they snore.
On average, women get just a few minutes less sleep during the week, and 10 minutes less sleep on weekends than men. They go to bed at about the same time, but get up a little earlier than men, generally.
Here’s what the National Sleep Foundation reported in its poll:
• Women went to bed at 10:57 p.m. on weeknights, and woke up at 6:38 in the morning. Their weeknight sleep averaged 7 hours and 41 minutes. Men, meanwhile, went to bed at 10:53 p.m. and woke at 6:40 a.m. — an average of 7 hours and 47 minutes of sleep.
• On weekends, women and men both went to bed a bit later. Women, 11:26 p.m. and men, 11:27 p.m. But women woke up at 7:41 a.m. while men slept in a little longer, until 7:52 a.m. Men average 8 hours and 25 minutes of sleep on weekends while women get 8 hours and 15 minutes.
Overall, only 12% of Americans report “excellent” sleep quality, while 35% report their sleep as “poor” or “only fair.” The National Sleep Foundation recommends 7-9 hours of sleep a night for most adults, realizing that every individual is different.
What do hormones do to our bodies?
Hormones travel in your bloodstream to tissues and organs, serving as your body’s chemical messengers. They affect many different body processes over time including growth and development, metabolism, sexual function, reproduction, and mood.
Hormones are made by endocrine glands, which include the pituitary, pineal, thymus, thyroid, adrenal glands, and pancreas. Women also produce hormones in their ovaries, while men produce hormones in their testes. When you take a pregnancy test at home, it’s testing for pregnancy hormones in your urine. Hormones also can be measured in your blood or saliva.
In women, estrogen and progesterone regulate the menstrual cycle and pregnancy. When estrogen levels dip, such as just before your period, it can actually lead to increased headaches or migraines in women. Estrogen levels also rise rapidly and stay pretty high during pregnancy. What’s especially difficult for women is that while pregnant or breastfeeding, they have to watch the foods they eat and the medicines they take — even reaching for some ibuprofen could be dangerous.
Studies have shown that the menstrual cycle, pregnancy, and menopause all can have an effect on sleep in women. A few key facts to consider:
- During pregnancy, women wake up more easily during the evening, typically because of nausea, heartburn, pain, anxiety, or the urge to urinate. Restless leg syndrome and sleep-disordered breathing are common. When pregnant women sleep poorly, they have a higher rate of becoming depressed, delivering via cesarean section, having a pre-term or low-birth-weight baby, having a longer labor, or being diagnosed with gestational diabetes.
- If you’re trying to get pregnant through in-vitro fertilization, that also can affect your sleep. Short sleep duration, poor sleep quality, and sleepiness all are common.
- In menopausal insomnia, which can increase your risk for cardiovascular disease, a woman’s heart rate is high throughout sleep. She may have night sweats that wake her up, or wake up earlier than she intended. Depression, anxiety, obstructive sleep apnea, and other issues can cause this population of women to sleep poorly.
As a woman, how can I get more sleep?
Hormones can mean big, fast changes. For women, it’s easy to see why they lose sleep. Sleep Salts can help.
While you should always consult with your doctor if you feel like hormones are becoming detrimental to your health, like constant migraines, doing a few things for yourself in the meantime could make a difference. Eating well, getting enough exercise, and making time to relax and unwind after a long day at the office or with the kids can improve the relationship between you and your bed.
Take a look at the science behind Sleep Salts and how magnesium helps women (and men) sleep better. Our products are made with pharmaceutical grade Epsom salt and Israeli Dead Sea Salt designed for maximum absorption of healthy minerals. We also use 100% organic essential oils to aid in your bathing — and restful sleep — experience.
Have a question? We’d love to hear from you, so shoot us a note here. Happy bathing!