It’s common knowledge that you need 7-8 hours of sleep to function optimally the next day. Unfortunately, sleep deprivation is becoming increasingly popular in today’s modern society. 

Excessive working hours, caffeine consumption, and life worries are just a few factors that may cause insomnia. 

While sleep deprivation bears adverse effects for both men and women, recent studies have shown that lack of sleep affects women more. 

In this informative article, we’ll discuss the effects of lack of sleep on women and offer a few tips on how women can sleep better and live healthier. 

Let’s dive in!

Health Effects of Lack of Sleep in Women

While sleepy mornings and tiredness are direct products of sleeplessness, the long-term health effects are even worse. Men and women experience most of these problems, but a study carried out in Duke University Medical Center found women to be at higher risk.

Differences in hormonal make between men and women and hormonal fluctuations during menstruation and pregnancy are suspected to be the reasons for these differences.

Hypertension and High Blood Pressure

A study found that people who took longer than 14 minutes to fall asleep were up to three times more likely to suffer high blood pressure. According to the survey, the longer it took to fall asleep, the greater the risk. The study contained men and women but found women more susceptible to high blood pressure.  

More than men, women who have a hard time falling asleep have increased levels of C-reactive protein. Excess production of this protein is associated with hypertension, blood pressure, and other heart diseases. 

Weight Gain

When losing sleep, you may be gaining something else – weight. Sadly, that’s not so much of a gain as it’s mostly unhealthy. 

Sleep deprivation and weight gain are closely related. In this relationship, two hormones are in play through reverse inhibition. The hormones are ghrelin and leptin. While ghrelin is produced during hunger, leptin is released during conditions of fullness and satiety. Lack of sleep results in decreased production of leptin.

Conversely, food consumption increases as a result of an increase in ghrelin production. This then results in weight gain. Ongoing studies are suggesting that prescription of adequate sleep should be added to weight loss programs.

Type 2 Diabetes

Lack of sleep can tamper with the body’s glucose tolerance and result in the much-dreaded Type 2 diabetes. Women who suffer sleep deprivation have been found to have high blood sugar and are at an increased risk of developing Type 2 diabetes and other cardiovascular diseases.

Depression and Anxiety

Sleep loss and depression are usually found together. In fact, insomnia is the most common symptom of depression, and insomnia causes depression. An inseparable pair. A survey carried out in 2005 found out people diagnosed with depression and anxiety have been catching between 5-6 hours of sleep long before they were diagnosed. This, and other studies, concluded that treating sleep disorder is an excellent approach to treating depression and vice-versa. 

Reduced Sex Drive

Sleep-deprived women have reported lower libidos and a general disinterest in sex. This could be as a result of depleted energy levels and lethargy associated with sex.

For women having sleepless nights due to sleep apnea, an unusually low testosterone level during the night could cause this reduced sex drive. A 2002 study found that sleep apnea (a respiratory disorder that impairs sleep) causes a depletion in testosterone levels in women. 

Other Effects of Lack of Sleep

Apart from the tendency to cause long and short term metabolic disorders, lack of sleep has some other effects on women, and these include:

  • Lack of sleep speeds up the rate of aging in women.
  • It increases forgetfulness
  • Causes crankiness
  • Reduces your responsiveness and results in home, workplace, and road accidents. 

Causes of Lack of Sleep in Women

This problem can be caused by a plethora of factors. Sometimes, it could be as simple as sleeping on the wrong mattress for your weight and sleeping position. You can fix that by reading mattress reviews on Sleepingnorth

Insomnia is the most common cause of sleeplessness and has been found to occur in twice as many women than men. This is because of their unique hormonal changes that come with their menstrual cycle and pregnancy.

Other common causes of lack of sleep include:

  • Worrying 
  • Stress
  • Sleep apnea
  • Circadian rhythm disorders
  • Narcolepsy
  • Restless leg syndrome.
Prevention and Treatment of Lack of Sleep

If you’re suffering from sleeplessness, you may need a doctor to diagnose the cause and recommend solutions.

Prevention and Treatment of Lack of Sleep

If you’re not suffering from lack of sleep, you’re in luck. However, it’s not time to slip up and throw caution to the wind. Taking conscious steps to prevent lack of sleep is the only way to ensure that this stays as far from you as possible.

Here are some ways you can prevent this:

  • Don’t touch caffeine once it’s 2 pm
  • Know that daytime naps can be counterproductive; limit them
  • Exercise regularly
  • Drastically cut down alcohol intake
  • Avoid heavy meals within a few hours before bedtime
  • Try to stick to a regular sleep and wake up time every day (with a 7-9 hour window in-between your sleep and wake up time)
  • Avoid using electronic devices right before bed

If you find yourself tossing and turning every night, you may be past these preventive tips and need some treatment. 

The most common treatment advice will be to get in bed, shut your eyes, and catch 7-9 hours of sleep every night. Easier said than done, I know.

You’ll likely need a professional’s services to diagnose the cause of your sleep disorder and treat it accordingly. For instance, sleep apnea may require a device that keeps your airways open while you sleep, while circadian rhythm disorder may require sleep therapy. 

Whatever the underlying cause, you can treat it and live a healthier life.

Wrapping Up

Women live especially busy lives. They have to find a balance between work, raising kids, keeping the family going, and (sometimes) spirituality. It’s no mean task. This is why sleep deprivation has become increasingly common. 

However, this raging monster must be truncated as it bears way too much detriment to health and wellness. 

If you skipped everything up to this point, know that this article outlines the effects of inadequate sleep in women and offers some tips for prevention and treatment. 

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