Psychology Today argues that although insomnia is often linked to stress, depression, anxiety, alcohol, caffeine (and all the other well publicized culprits), we rarely hear about another factor - female hormones.
The article tells us that sleep disturbances occur twice as often in healthy women than in men - and they are most common in the 1-2 weeks before menstruation begins.
Apparently progesterone (which rises to high levels in the second half of the cycle) helps women fall asleep and stay asleep. Studies have shown that women with PMS have lower levels of progesterone as well as reduced serotonin levels - which can result in less melatonin production.
So if you're suffering from PMS and insomnia, what can you do? The article offers the following advice:
- Track your menstrual cycles and moods on a graph for three months
- Consider progesterone supplements
- Undergo light therapy
The article is rather complex - particularly when it outlines how women should measure their hormones several times using blood or saliva samples; we'd prefer you went to your doctor for that kind of thing.
That being said, the article does raise a couple of serious issues - the fact that women are more susceptible to insomnia (we've mentioned that one a number of times), and that there appears to be a link between insomnia and PMS.
Hopefully this post will give you another avenue to explore when it comes to finding a cure for your insomnia.Improve your sleep without sleeping pills with my free sleep training. As always, there's more information and advice in our insomnia support group