Why Lousy Sleep -- or Just Not Enough of It -- Can Affect Your Health
Health Risks for Women Over 40: Page 3
Women have more trouble falling asleep than men and get less sleep overall, according to the National Sleep Foundation. Women also suffer more insomnia, more restless leg syndrome, and the sleep disruptions due to menopausal changes. Sleep apnea, which is more common in men, begins increasing in women after age 50; by age 65, it affects one in four women.
Those zzzs matter: Insufficient sleep doubles the risk of hypertension in women, according to a 2007 University of Warwick study, upping the risk of heart disease, diabetes, and obesity. (Men's levels of inflammatory markers didn't change with less sleep.)
Oops: Older women with sleep apnea have an 85 percent greater risk of developing dementia, according to a 2011 JAMA report.
Silver lining: The sweet spot for adding years to your life through sleep is more than 5 hours a night but less than 8.5, according to an analysis of Women's Health Initiative data done at the University of California, San Diego, in 2010.