“The sleep troubles women have reported show that they wake up in the night far more often than men,” professor Torbjörn Åkerstedt of the Karolinska Institute and Stockholm University’s Stress Research Institute told The Local.
“When it comes to having difficulties falling asleep, or waking up too early, women and men were roughly equal,” he said.
The study examined the Swedish population’s sleep patterns and problems, and was conducted together with Statistics Sweden (Statistiska Centralbyrån, SCB).
Stress seems to be a major factor in Swedish women’s sleep problems, according to the study.
“Women tended to experience stress as the root of the problem. Women have a greater work load in the home, and we think that’s the underlying cause,” Åkerstedt explained.
He also explained that tests have shown that women have a stronger physiological response to stress than men. High stress levels are difficult to combine with a good night’s sleep.
“If you’re under pressure, you gear up physiologically to handle the demands placed on you. This is incompatible with sleep,” Åkerstedt said.
On Friday afternoon, both Swedish and international scientists gathered at Karolinska Institute for a symposium on women’s stress and health. One of the topics discussed was the difference in sleep patterns between men and women.