In recent years the problems with sleep that women may experience have been better appreciated. Women are among the most chronically sleep deprived members of society, with women from age 30-60 averaging just under 7 hours of sleep per night during the week. This is contributed to by a combination of factors, including the multiple roles many women have as wage earner, homemaker and mother. In addition of course, physiological differences due to changing hormone levels add unique issues for women with what we now recognize as an important effect on sleep quality.
Studies have shown that hormonal changes in the menstrual cycle can and do interfere with sleep for an average 2-3 days per monthly cycle. The interference with sleep appears due to a bloated feeling but clearly contributed to by other factors. The most marked disturbance occurs during the first few days of menstruation. An second time of disrupted sleep occurs as progesterone levels fall towards the end of the menstrual cycle. There may be difficulty falling asleep in this time period. The premenstrual period, the last few days before menstruation commences, is also associated with poorer sleep with insomnia common but sometimes hypersomnia or increased daytime sleepiness may also occur.