Sleep researchers: women sleep much worse than men

Women suffer from sleep problems significantly more often than men
About every fourth German citizen suffers from sleep disorders. A recent study showed that women are affected much more often than men. The consequences can be serious. Those affected not only have to deal with fatigue and difficulty concentrating during the day. This also jeopardizes health.

Sleep disorders are common
Millions of people in Germany have problems sleeping: They often lie awake in bed for hours, roll from side to side and feel like they are on the next day. According to the Robert Koch Institute, around 25 percent of Germans suffer from sleep disorders, for another 11 percent sleep is often not restful. A team of researchers in Leipzig now reports that women are affected much more often than men.

Women sleep worse than men
According to health experts, sleep disorders increase the risk of diseases such as depression, anxiety disorders, diabetes and also cardiovascular diseases such as heart attacks.

And just recently, a study showed that sleep disorders can increase the risk of stroke.

Scientists from the United States reported years ago that women sleep less than men. An investigation by the Medical Faculty of the University of Leipzig also came to the conclusion that women suffer from sleep problems significantly more often than men.

Definitions for good and bad sleep
For their investigation, the scientists evaluated information on the sleep quality of 9,284 subjects. The data comes from the study by the Leipzig Research Center for Civilization Diseases (LIFE), an investigation program on the causes and early detection of civilization diseases using the example of the Leipzig population.

According to the researchers, the study results are now defining solid results for good and bad sleep for our western culture for the first time.

They were recently published in the "Journal of Affective Disorders" and in the specialist magazine "Sleep Medicine".

Different sleeping habits
"If we examine the sleep of certain patient groups in the future, we now know what sleep behavior we can use as a basis," explained study leader Prof. Dr. Andreas Hinz from the University of Leipzig in a press release.

The participants had provided information about their sleep in a questionnaire. In addition to the subjective assessment, they also provided information on the length of sleep, the time to sleep, sleep efficiency, possible sleep disorders and sleep aid consumption as well as daytime sleepiness.

A total value is then calculated from the points for the individual answers: Above a value of five, the patient suffers from sleep problems, values ​​below that promise better sleep quality.

“This limit of five was determined by the authors who developed the questionnaire. This value is retained in studies so that the results can be compared, ”says Prof. Andreas Hinz.

Education-dependent sleep quality
If this limit is also used in the Leipzig study, 36 percent of those examined have to struggle with sleep problems. Women (42 percent) suffer from poorer sleep quality more often than men (29 percent).

According to the information, obese people sleep less well, while nicotine consumption makes no difference.

The researchers also registered a clear educational dependence on sleep quality: the subjects with a high school diploma slept better than participants without a high school diploma. Furthermore, the unemployed had to struggle with a significantly poorer quality of sleep than working people.

"It is very interesting. The work activity holds burdens ready, but no work activity is even more burdensome for people. This is also shown by study results from other areas, such as studies on depression, ”explained Prof. Hinz.

Tips for a better sleep
The current Leipzig study can describe relationships between sleep quality and other variables, but cannot make any statements about cause and effect. Problems at work can cause bad sleep, or vice versa, bad sleep can create problems in everyday work.

Health experts do not recommend premature access to medication for sleep problems. A healthy lifestyle and the absence of late meals, coffee, alcohol and intensive sports in the evening are conducive to restful sleep.

It is also helpful to observe regular sleeping times and to reduce your weight in the event of being overweight. Various home remedies for sleep disorders are also useful.

A calming tea made from passion flower or chamomile, for example, has proven its worth to relieve tension. Relaxation techniques such as autogenic training or progressive muscle relaxation can also be effective. (ad)

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