Why Women Have More Difficulty Sleeping Than Men

It’s not fair, but it’s true: Women have more difficulty getting a good night’s sleep than men. On average, women have more trouble falling asleep and staying asleep than men, and as a result, they’re more likely to experience daytime sleepiness, trouble with concentration, and even physical problems such as increased sickness and weight gain.

Women may also feel more tired because they need, on average, about 20 minutes more sleep per night than men.

Although anyone can get insomnia, it affects more women than men. More than 25% of women in the United States have insomnia, compared to less than 20% of men.

Why do women have trouble getting the seven to nine hours of sleep they need each night? Your health care providers at Sound Sleep Health would like to help you to understand why women struggle to sleep.

Here’s a look at some of the biological and social factors that keep women up at night.


Some women find that the hormonal fluctuations of menstruation interfere with their sleep before or during their menstrual periods. Cramps can also contribute to sleeplessness.


As any woman who’s had a baby can tell you, it can sometimes be hard to sleep well when you’re pregnant. The excess weight you gain can make you feel uncomfortable. You can also struggle to sleep when your baby moves into an awkward position or presses on a nerve.

Throughout pregnancy, many women find they have to urinate more often, which can send them running to the bathroom throughout the night.


Menopausal hot flashes and night sweats are notorious for waking women up at night. These body temperature disturbances, which can be quite uncomfortable, are the result of falling levels of estrogen that accompany menopause.

Hot flashes and night sweats can be even more dramatic in women who go through menopause suddenly because of hysterectomy or hormonal medications prescribed to treat or prevent breast cancer.


It’s no surprise that pain can keep you awake. Unfortunately, painful conditions afflict women at higher rates than they affect men. If you’re a woman, you may be tossing and turning due to pain from migraines, tension headaches, arthritis, or heartburn, which all occur more frequently in women than in men.

Restless legs

Women also have higher rates than men of restless leg syndrome, a neurological disorder in which you experience a strong desire to move your legs. Having restless legs can prevent you from falling asleep and can wake you up during the night

Caregiving responsibilities

Women have a lot on their plates, including employment, housework, childcare, and elder care. These responsibilities can prevent you from spending enough time in bed to get the sleep you need. And the stress of having to juggle all these responsibilities can interfere with sound sleep.

How to sleep more soundly

Whether you’re a woman or a man, our sleep experts at Sound Sleep Health can make it easier for you to get the rest you need. For diagnosis and treatment of insomnia and other sleep disorders, book a consultation by phone or online at one of our three locations in Kirkland and Seattle, Washington.

Exclusively treating patients with sleep issues, our practice is led by renowned board-certified sleep medicine specialist Dr. Gandis G. Mažeika, who trained at Harvard and Duke universities and is a fellow of the American Academy of Sleep Medicine. Dr. Mažeika is also an active member of the National Sleep Foundation.

You Might Also Enjoy...

Parasomnia: 5 Interesting Facts You Didn’t Know

If you walk, talk, eat, or even drive while you’re asleep, you’re experiencing a parasomnia. Here are five facts about parasomnia, along with advice on what to do if you engage in unusual behavior while you sleep.

How Sleep Problems Increase with Age

As you age, you may have more trouble falling asleep, staying asleep, and getting enough sleep to feel refreshed. It’s normal for age to affect sleep, but there are steps you can take to get the rest you need.

Can Melatonin Really Help You Sleep?

If you’re having trouble falling asleep or staying asleep, you may think of taking melatonin supplements. But do they really help with sleep? For some people, the answer is yes.