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Sleepy Women Have Poorer Health?

According to the National Sleep Foundation’s 2007 Sleep in America poll, just published by Eileen Chasens and colleagues from the University of Pittsburgh in this month’s issue of Behavior and Sleep Medicine, almost 20% of community-dwelling women aged 40 to 60 years reported sleepiness that consistently interfered with daily life.

Perhaps not surprisingly, the sleepy subsample reported more symptoms of insomnia, restless legs syndrome, obstructive sleep apnea, depression and anxiety, as well as more problems with health-promoting behaviors, drowsy driving, job performance, household duties, and personal relationships.

Further analyses revealed that sleepiness along with depressive symptoms, medical comorbidities, obesity, and lower education were associated with poor self-rated health, whereas menopause status (pre-, peri- or post-) was not.

These results point to the high prevalence of daytime sleepiness in midlife women and suggest that addressing the underlying causes of poor sleep and sleep disruption may be an important measure to improve health in this population.

Obviously, what applies to the midlife women in this study may well also apply to women of other age groups as well as men – and of course our kids.

Perhaps we should all use the long weekend to get more sleep.

Edmonton, Alberta

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Chasens ER, Twerski SR, Yang K, & Umlauf MG (2010). Sleepiness and health in midlife women: results of the National Sleep Foundation’s 2007 Sleep in America poll. Behavioral sleep medicine, 8 (3), 157-71 PMID: 20582759


  1. Certainly medical comorbidities especially Diabetes, Rheumatoid Arthritis, Lupus and other autoimmune diseases contribute to the fatigue that leads to daytime sleepiness. Add to that the persistent discomfort and pain associated with these and other medical conditions and we get insomnia or poor quality sleep. Overall, chronic illness can be a real impediment to good quality sleep.

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  2. I don’t sleep well and I found out why – I can’t sleep with my husband.

    (No nudge-nudge-wink-wink comments, that’s not what I mean)

    When I travel and stay in a hotel or with friends and I sleep alone, in a room by myself, I fall asleep easily, sleep all night, and wake up before the alarm, refreshed and eager for the day.

    After I’ve been home a couple of days, I’m tired.
    After a few more days, I am groggy and headachy in the morning. and I struggle to wake up to my alarm.
    Soon I’m waking up during the night, and tossing restlessly , or getting up for a while.
    After a few weeks, I stay up as late as possible because I can’t even get to sleep unless I’m absolutely exhausted. Then I sleep in – vicious circle.

    Then my husband goes on a business trip – and after a few days I’m sleeping well again.

    My solution – separate bedrooms. My husband doesn’t like it – he says he likes to reach out and hold me in the night. However after years of trying to get used to being hung on to during the night I’ve decided I cannot drive myself crazy with sleep deprivation. So we go to bed together, and when he rolls over and starts to snore, I get up and go to my own room, breathe a sigh of relief, and sleep like a log. I’m even happy when he comes to wake me up in the morning.

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  3. Ya sleep is most essential for peace of mind mental plus physical health.

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