Insomnia affects women differently and more commonly than it affects men. At the Center for Women’s Integrated Health, we understand the complexities of chronic insomnia. With expertise in the unique causes and related health challenges affecting our patients, our team specializes in evidence-based approaches to help you improve sleep health and experience more restful sleep.

Insomnia is a common sleep disorder with symptoms that vary from person to person, including:

  • Difficulty falling or staying asleep at night
  • Waking up too early
  • Not feeling rested after a night's sleep

During the daytime, people with insomnia may experience:

  • Tiredness or sleepiness
  • Irritability, depression or anxiety
  • Difficulty paying attention, focusing or remembering
  • More mistakes or accidents than usual
  • Constant worrying about sleep

Insomnia, Estrogen and Sleep Health

As estrogen rises and falls, it can trigger or worsen symptoms of insomnia.

Also, some women naturally have a higher risk of experiencing sleep disturbances. They may find that even subtle changes in stress, health, mood disorders, medication, schedule or other areas can trigger insomnia symptoms.

Every person is different. However, the recommendation for most adults is seven to nine hours of sleep per night. As we age our sleep patterns change. Although, sleep requirements don’t change, older adults sleep for shorter time spans and not as deeply compared to younger adults.

It’s common to notice an increase in insomnia symptoms during your menstrual cycle or when other hormonal changes occur, such as pregnancy, perimenopause or menopause. Any significant increase or decrease in hormone levels can lead to changes in insomnia symptoms.

Poor nutrition, low physical activity, stress and obesity are common risk factors for insomnia. These are important considerations in understanding how insomnia impacts you and how to effectively treat it. At the Center for Women’s Integrated Health, our team often works closely with specialists in lifestyle medicine, alternative medicine and primary care to create personalized treatment plans addressing a combination of related symptoms and diagnoses.

Insomnia Treatment for Women

How does cognitive behavioral treatment work for insomnia in women?

After a thorough evaluation, cognitive behavioral treatment for insomnia (CBT-I) will likely be your first step toward experiencing more restful sleep.

This evidence-based approach involves learning structured exercises that help train your mind to replace negative sleep behaviors with positive sleep behaviors.

Lisa Medalie, PsyD, CBSM

Lisa Medalie, PsyD, DBSM

Lisa Medalie, PsyD, DBSM, is a behavioral sleep medicine specialist at the University of Chicago Medicine. She specializes in the treatment of chronic insomnia in adults and children and uses evidence-based behavioral strategies in that effort.

See Dr. Lisa Medalie's physician profile

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Center for Women's Integrated Health