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Women's Health

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The Secret Causes of Insomnia: What Every Woman Should Know About Sleep Problems

A hectic lifestyle isn't the only thing keeping women up at night. Here are some key causes of sleep problems in women.

Insomnia and Your Lifestyle continued...

Last but not least is the Wonder Woman -- and you know who you are. Married, with school-aged children and working full time, if you fall into this group it's almost a sure bet you aren't getting enough sleep, says Rosekind, who is also president and founder of Alertness Solutions. These women, he says, are usually getting fewer than six hours a night.

In addition to being overloaded with work and family obligations, you may not have enough time to exercise or relax -- or have sex -- which can help a girl when the sun goes down. Often, the solution here is as simple as making just a little more time for yourself at the end of every day.

Sleep Problems and Your Hormones

If you're like many women, it may not be your lifestyle that's sabotaging your sleep but your own body -- primarily, your hormones. It all begins, say experts, with your monthly menstrual cycle.

"More than 70% of women complain of sleep problems during menstruation, when hormone levels are at their lowest," says Amy Wolfson, PhD, author of TheWoman's Book of Sleep: A Complete Resource Guide.

Indeed, experts say that not only does your period affect sleep quality, any menstrual symptoms you may experience can also keep you up at night. In fact, research reveals that menstruating women often report bloating significant enough to disturb their sleep at least two or three days during each menstrual cycle, according to the NSF.

If this rings true for you, talk to your gynecologist. There are treatments that can help some of your menstrual-related symptoms, which in turn may help solve these sleep problems.

Be aware, however, that as you enter perimenopause and eventually menopause, hormonal changes are back in the picture, disrupting your bedtime yet again.

Generally, post-menopausal women are less satisfied with their sleep, with more than half reporting insomnia symptoms," says Wolfson, who is a spokesperson for the Better Sleep Council.

The oft-cited causes of sleep problems include hot flashes, mood disorders and sleep-disordered breathing like snoring, all common and sometimes severe even in post-menopausal women.

Again, talk to your doctor about symptom relief that can do double duty by also helping you sleep better.

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