Do sleep disorders have more serious consequences for men or women?

There is evidence that women are in some ways more vulnerable than men to sleep disorders and to the health risks associated with lack of sleep.

The biological phases of a woman’s life -- menstruation, pregnancy, menopause -- and the hormonal shifts that accompany them make women more likely to experience disruptions to their sleep. Women in general are more susceptible than men to sleep disorders such as insomnia. Because of their propensity for deep sleep during the first part of their lives, women may receive protective benefits early on. But particularly after the age of 40, women’s sleep often deteriorates.

Research suggests women have a different relationship with sleep when it comes to illness. One study showed that women who got less than eight hours of sleep demonstrated an elevated risk for heart problems. Men in the study who got the same amount of sleep also saw increased risk, but the increase was not as significant as it was for women. The results of a recent study on cancer and sleep found that women were significantly more likely than men to suffer from insomnia while undergoing cancer treatment.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.