Women and Sleep

The most recent statistics on the women who participate in our Illinois Women’s Health Registry, indicate that sleep is a significant issue in their lives.  Among the most current women who are enrolled in our registry, 11% report difficulties getting to sleep, 12% have a hard time staying asleep, 15% wake up feeling fatigued, 13% report they are getting too little sleep for what they need, and 8% wake too early and cannot get back to sleep.

Our limited knowledge in sex differences is due to the fact that women are underrepresented in studies of sleep and its disorders.  The National Sleep Disorders Research Plan, released in 2004 by the National Center on Sleep Disorders Research reported that 75% of sleep research has been conducted in men.   While more recent sleep studies have included women, the small sample sizes limit sex comparisons.  However, there is a growing body of evidence that sex hormones influence sleep and circadian rhythms, and further neuroendocrine studies are needed.

To read more on women and sleep on the Institute for Women’s Health Research, click here.