With a ratio of three to one in women over 50, insomnia is a more feminine than masculine phenomenon, especially with the arrival of menopause, as it brings a reduction of important hormones – explains Dr. Vincenzo Tullo, specialist neurologist and Head of the Headaches Ambulance Office at Humanitas. – During their fertile years, women are more “protected” from the risk of insomnia, thanks to the action of progesterone hormones, which have the power to induce sleep. With the arrival of menopause and the decline in hormonal production, this protection is lost in women; therefore, it is more frequent, compared to men, that at this stage of life a woman experiences insomnia. When the reduction in nocturnal sleep lasts more than a month, meaning it becomes chronic, which usually happens in 10% of those who suffer from insomnia, it is important to contact a specialist for a therapeutic evaluation. In fact, the lack of sleep affects physical and mental health, which can further lead to arterial hypertension, obesity and diabetes, in addition to generating psychological disorders such as anxiety and depression.
Insomnia, however, is not always just due to hormonal causes, but can be determined by many factors such as bad eating habits, substance intake, jet lag, stress, pain, psychiatric diseases, and neurological disorders, in addition to those of environmental origin or genetic mutation, as evidenced by recent studies.