World Sleep Day 2021: Know the hidden risks of poor sleep in women


Sleep plays an essential part in maintaining one’s overall health. Sleep deprivation can result in cases of cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, and other chronic diseases, along with stress and anxiety.

But, did you know that there is a biological variation when it comes to how sleep affects both men and women?  The vicious cycle of sleeping less and performing minimal physical activity has dangerous consequences, especially for women. “That is because women have more hormonal changes throughout their lifespan, said Dr Sibasish Dey, head, medical affairs, Asia and Latin America, ResMed

“According to many studies, women need about 30 minutes of more sleep than men because of the hormonal changes due to their monthly menstrual cycle and menopause. Estrogen and progesterone — the two major female sex hormones — can influence the brain’s chemical systems that regulate sleep and arousal,” added Dr Dey.

sleep, sleep apnea, sleep disorder Sleep deprivation may also lead to fatigue and mood swings, especially among women suffering from PCOS – Polycystic Ovary Syndrome. (Source: gettyimages/file)

Consequences of a poor sleep cycle for women

In a study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences USA, women often face more challenges in concentrating than men. This is further exacerbated by sleep deprivation. Dr Dey adds, “it can also aggravate pre-existing mood disturbances, such as anger, depression, and anxiety, and can lead to confusion, fatigue, and lack of vigour, ultimately impacting productivity.”

Not only that it can also affect fertility, as Dr Dey piint out, “Long term lack of sleep may directly affect the release of luteinizing hormone, or LH — the hormone that triggers ovulation to regulate the menstrual cycle and affect fertility.” 

What should women do to get more sleep?

Good sleep has proven effects in improving women’s physical and mental health. It also leads to better functioning of the circulatory system. Improved collagen production during sleep also delays the onset of wrinkles.

Here are a few tips by Dr Dey to have a healthy sleep regime: 

  • Try maintaining a healthy circadian rhythm. “Try to sleep between 10 pm – 7 am, and make sure you are getting at least seven hours of restful sleep regularly.”
  • Stop consuming caffeine at least five hours before bedtime
  • A hot water shower can help you sleep better. 
  • Read a book or practice meditation in order to help your mind relax.

While everyone experiences a lousy night of sleep once in a while, but if you are experiencing sleepless nights regularly along with symptoms such as morning headaches, daytime sleepiness, and loss in productivity, it’s time you consult a sleep specialist.

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