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Is insomnia and sleep deprivation really worse for women?

Sleep deprivation varies between the sexes. When it comes to insomnia prevalence to medication use and other effects, our gender appears to influence how sleep (or a lack of it) affects our bodies and minds.

Adding to this, I recently came across a study that found that women may bear the brunt of some of insomnia's less pleasant side-effects.

The research, out of Duke University Medical Center in Durham, North Carolina, found that women who suffered from poor sleep quality were more likely to suffer from psychosocial distress (such as depression, hostility and anger) compared to sleep deprived men.

Furthermore, female insomnia sufferers were also more likely to have higher blood levels of substances that have been linked to type 2 diabetes, inflammation, heart disease and even stroke.

Researchers found that if it took women half an hour or more to fall asleep, they were more at risk of developing the symptoms described above. In fact, time to fall asleep was more of a risk factor than overall sleep quality.

So why the difference between the genders?

One theory argues that it's all down to gender differences in the way serotonin, melatonin and tryptophan function in the body - but we still don't really know for sure.

Source: Brain, Behavior, and Immunity

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Last updated: August 8, 2014

This Article Was Written By

Martin Reed

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