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Is sleep only a woman's issue?

Updated on October 26, 2013

Your hormones are the real reason you find your self sleepless at nights. Women suffers insomnia more than men due to fluctuation in levels of estrogen and progesterone during different periods of life. When these hormones fluctuate, they create imbalance and that culminates into sleeplessness at nights.

What is progesterone?

P4 or progesterone is also a steroid hormone which is responsible for mensuration, pregnancy and embryo-genesis. It is produced by ovaries and adrenal glands which in placenta during pregnancy just as estrogen.

Just before the onset of menstrual cycle, progesterone levels are low while they rise after ovulation are are quite low in postmenopausal women and children.

  • Progesterone plays key role during t he reproduction phases and helps the nervous system
  • It boost up the immune system of the body and acts as anti-inflammatory
  • It regulates minerals levels in the blood and plays important role in insulin release

What is Estrogen?

Estrogens are primary female sex hormones. Naturally produced in female body, they are steroid hormones that play important role in both mensural as well as reproductive cycles. They are produced by ovaries and during pregnancy by placenta. Other cells of the body also produces estrogen in small quantities like liver, breasts and adrenal glands as well as fat cells. Following are the main functions of estrogen:

  • Formation of female secondary sexual attributes
  • Mental health
  • increase metabolism and fat stores
  • Acts as stimulus to endometrial growth and increase uterine growth
  • Bone density formation and restoration
  • Protein synthesis and coagulation, fluid balance and maintenance of lipids levels
  • Increases cholesterol in bile and reduce bowel movements
  • Production of melanin
  • and many other functions related to lungs, uterus, ovulation and sexual receptivity


Insomnia and progesterone decline

Incresaed levels of progesterone induces sleep and reverse is also true, i.e. decreases levels causes insomnia which results in temperamental mood swings, depression and anxiety.

Insomnia and Estrogen decline

Decline in estrogen levels triggers the following effects in women:

Decline in intake and production of Magnesium

  • Magnesium is a mineral that helps muscle relax.
  • Decreased estrogen levels reduces and slows down the intake of magnesium.
  • It also reduces the secondary production of magnesium

Hot Flashes and sweating

  • Declined estrogen levels causes hot flashes at night and triggers sweating in women resulting in sleeplessness

Disturbed breathing and snoring

  • Declined estrogen levels causes sleep apnea, i.e. disturbed breathing and snoring at night

Not in its entirety, but yes, it appears that sleeplessness is a woman's problem.

Factors that affect estrogen and progesterone levels

Following are the factors that affects estrogen and progesterone levels in women:

  • menstruation
  • pregnancy
  • menopause

The period before and after menstruation is categorized as a period of sleeplessness and restlessness. Women tend to feel drowsy and sleepy during the day time and fatigued at night.

Level of both the hormones rise during pregnancy. Sleep disruptions due to frequent visits to washrooms occur. Insomnia and leg anxiety are common during pregnancy. postmortem, mostly, they disappear.

Menopausal women experience sleepless nights and hot flashes caused by decline in the hormonal levels. Women experiences both physical and psychological changes which is singly attributed to the decline in estrogen and progesterone levels.

Men don't go to any of these three conditions, therefore, insomnia is not attributed to the male sex hormones as is the case with women.


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    • Fatiha profile image

      Fatiha 4 years ago from CALGARY

      Yes but it appears that women is the sleep deprived life of earth

    • karunakar1 profile image

      karunakar1 4 years ago from VISAKHAPATNAM