Is it True Women Suffer from Sleep Disorders More often than Men

ABOUT PROBLEMS WITH SLEEP, TALKING MORE AND MORE OFTEN: people today don't get enough sleep and, fully aware of the importance of night rest, looking for new technological ways to improve its quality, from "smart" beds with sleep trackers to special sprays for bedding. But there are problems that are difficult to solve with the help of earplugs or mobile application. According to the National sleep organization of the United States (Yes, there is such — The National Sleep Foundation), women are much more likely than men to experience insomnia and other sleep disorders. Scientists have discovered and are actively exploring new factors that may be the cause of this disappointing statistics.

There are grounds to believe, that all deal in difference circadian rhythms, and they, in turn, depend on level various hormones, in including female genital. To understand what we are talking about, it is necessary to take into account that the circadian rhythm is not just an “internal clock” that determines the time of sleep and awakening. Many other physiological processes, such as the regulation of body temperature, take place within this cycle, which is about twenty-four hours and is also known as the biological day. Changes in sleep and Wake, fluctuations in body temperature and other vital functions are triggered by environmental signals — from sunlight to atmospheric pressure — and a number of chemical elements in the body.

To find out how different people respond to these signals during the day, last year American scientists decided to study the sleep mechanisms of fifteen men and eleven women (eight of them participated in the experiment during two different phases of the menstrual cycle). The subjects were offered to fall asleep in carefully controlled conditions for three days. In addition, during the study, members of the group were shown daytime sleep. Scientists have regularly measured the body temperature of the subjects, the quality of their sleep, levels of melatonin — the hormone responsible for circadian rhythms, as well as how quickly the members of the group fell asleep and how cheerful they were after waking up. The results of the study were unexpected: although male and female organisms during the day experienced the same physiological processes due to circadian rhythms, in women these cycles were faster. The women went to sleep and awoke earlier. “During the day, women went to bed on average two hours earlier than men,”explains Dr. Diana Boyvin, who conducted the study. – As if the system of daily rhythms in women is one time zone to the East than in men“.

Of course, to confirm the results will require a much wider sample. However, the data of this study is consistent with the earlier, which showed that the biological day is shorter than twenty-four hours among women is more common. In addition, they have more cases of physical exhaustion after being forced to stay awake at night. The fact that women often Wake up before men, scientists explain the changes in hormone levels and body temperature within the daily rhythm. The difference in their duration, as well as physiological fluctuations within the cycle, are considered quite normal and most of us do not cause any complications. At the same time, such scientific observations bring us closer to understanding why failures in the “biological clock” and sleep disorders are more typical for women.

Daily rhythms affect not only sleep, but also such processes as, for example, the reaction of the body to different types of medicines…

Although no direct link between the participants’ menstrual cycles and their sleep quality was found in these trials, another small study by the same laboratory found that during the luteal phase of the cycle, that is, between ovulation and menstruation, the total amount of sleep in the fast phase may decrease. Now scientists believe that the phenomenon may be associated with the work of the suprachiasmatic nucleus — a small cluster of neurons in the brain that controls circadian rhythms. This zone regulates the level of production of hormones that determine the mechanisms of sleep and awakening, in particular melatonin. It was found that this nucleus also contains estrogen receptors, and it is known to regulate the menstrual cycle and all related changes in the body, including body temperature — an important factor in the “sleep — awakening“.

On the basis of these observations, the researchers conclude about another type of relationship between the level of hormones and our “internal clock“. Dr. Boyvin quite boldly States:in fact, the brain area responsible for the circadian rhythm and mechanisms of sleep, there is gender.Another doctor-somnologist Diane Augelli in an interview with New York Magazine is more cautious in expressions, but also confirms the role of sex hormones in the formation of daily rhythms:Estrogen works as a neurotransmitter in different directions, some of which affect the quality of sleep, and progesterone can show sleep-inducing properties.” This factor, according to doctors, is of fundamental importance, because the daily rhythms affect not only sleep, but also such processes as, for example, the reaction of the body to different types of medicines.

There are more obvious and studied in detail factors that form the statistics of sleep disorders. In women, it is, for example, pregnancy and menopause. In addition to changes in the level of estrogen and progesterone, during pregnancy, there may be General physical discomfort, as well as characteristic symptoms — from burning in the chest to restless leg syndrome, which affects the quality of sleep. Insomnia and sleep apnea (temporary stopping or weakening of breathing) are frequent companions of pregnancy and menopause. During the latter, as is known, there are regular bouts of heat and excessive sweating, including at night. In addition, a number of studies prove that women are more acute than men endure anxiety and harder to perceive stress in professional and personal life — the effect of the “stress hormone” cortisol on sleep disorders says a lot of research.

In any case, scientists have only recently come close to understanding how complex sleep mechanisms actually work and in which cases sex differences really matter. In existing studies, proving the relationship between the level of sex hormones and the duration of daily rhythms, an insufficient number of subjects are involved. In addition, participants in such experiments, as a rule, or completely healthy, or all of one suffer from sleep disorders, so that the proper distribution of data is difficult to achieve. Nevertheless, researchers now confidently associate the difference in daily rhythms and the level of sex hormones with the fact that women sleep disorders are more pronounced — in particular, they sleep worse closer to the morning. How exactly there is such a pattern, yet to be known.

Dr. Eliza Gilmourd is an American Board Certified Sleep Specialist (DABSM) based in New Jersey. She has led and analyzed more than 300 sleep studies, including adult and pediatric patients. She is considered one of the leading practitioners in the field of sleep medicine in New Jersey. Dr. Eliza Gilmourd established SleepCare Solutions (SCS) in 2013 as an exclusive sleep disorder treatment center to provide outstanding clinical care to all patients with a wide range of sleep disorders, as well as training for patients and their families, other physicians and trainee physicians. SCS provides patients with expert consensus on individual diagnoses and management options, which may include follow-up breath tests, additional neurological examinations, or cognitive/behavioral therapy.

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