What Causes Insomnia in Males And Females?

At some point in our life, or maybe some of us, we still face a lack of sleep or disruption in our sleep cycle.

This happened at some point but resolved over time as we took care of our routine. But if you have trouble sleeping regularly for over a few months, it’s time to visit your GP.

Because it could be Insomnia.

A person may have insomnia because he or she has difficulty relaxing before going to sleep. This is often referred to as tense leg syndrome.

Another common cause is trying too hard to fall asleep at night, which can cause stress and anxiety during the day as well as interfere with restful sleep at night.

If you only experience occasional insomnia, it’s likely due to stress, an unsteady bedtime routine, or bad habits.

But if you have trouble sleeping regularly for more than a few months, it may be because of a medical condition, a mental health issue, or a medication side effect.

What is Insomnia?

What is Insomnia

Insomnia is the inability to sleep. There are many different types of insomnia, and they can be treated in many ways. Some people find that they have trouble falling asleep at night, while others may have difficulty staying asleep during the night.

Several things can trigger insomnia, some of which are stress and anxiety or depression. Certain medications in lifestyle or excessive amounts of caffeine or alcohol also contribute to insomnia.

The term “insomnia” is commonly used to denote the existence of polysomnographic substantiation of disturbed sleep, which is focused on the actual act of sleeping.

Therefore, insomnia is diagnosed when nighttime disruptions are a long sleep latency, prolonged wakefulness during sleep, and frequent brief awakenings. That’s why it’s common to view insomnia as a symptom and sign.

The difference in insomnia rates between men and women cannot be attributed to a single cause.

Insomnia can be difficult to treat. But by understanding the potential causes, both males and females can work with their doctors to find a solution that works for them.

This post discusses the various causes of insomnia in both men and women.

Causes of Insomnia in Males

Insomnia is commonly attributed to a state of heightened alertness. This can have mental or physical manifestations, disrupting normal sleep patterns.

Subsequently, insomnia may be related to a medical issue. The following are some additional common causes:

1. Anxiety And Depression

Anxiety And Depression

Excessive fretting might keep your brain active, preventing you from a restful sleep. Maybe you’re stressed because of issues at home, at your job, in your relationships, with your money, with your health, or you’ve recently lost someone close to you. There are several potential triggers for stress.

There is some proof that stress prevents one from sleeping soundly. It sets off a chain of events in your body that may keep you awake at night. Unfortunately, the sleep-stress cycle is hard to break due to the tension it can cause.

Depression is thought to be exacerbated by insomnia. Sleep disturbances and oversleeping are common symptoms of depression. Anxiety and stress are also major contributors to insomnia.

2. Age

As people age, their vulnerability to insomnia increases. After waking up multiple times during the night, they have trouble going back to sleep.

Older people often have trouble sleeping as their sleep habits have changed due to aging. Dementia, despair, and other medical and mental health issues are particularly hard on them. In addition, several circumstances can trigger sleep disorders like insomnia.

3. Medications


Sleep disruption is a common side effect of several prescription and over-the-counter medications. This includes pain meds, decongestants, antidepressants, and blood pressure pills.

4. Caffeine or Alcohol

If you like to drink alcohol or coffee in the afternoon, you may have trouble sleeping at night.

While alcohol may ease sleep onset, it prevents the deep sleep stages from occurring. Thus, the likelihood of awakening at night is also increased.

Nicotine products can also make it hard to get to sleep as they inhibit the body’s natural synthesis of sleep hormones.

5. Sleep Apnea

Sleep Apnea

It is well known that sleep apnea is a leading cause of insomnia in males. This is a breathing-related sleep condition. It manifests itself as snoring and breathing interruptions that disrupt sleep.

Sleep apnea affects more males than women. Problems diagnosing and treating it are prevalent.

6. Poor Sleep Habits

An unhealthy sleep routine, daytime naps, an uncomfortable bed, and screen time before bed can hamper sleep. All these habits can eventually be disruptive to your good sleep hours.

7. Adrenal Fatigue

Adrenal Fatigue

When a man is stressed for a long time, his adrenal glands will create more cortisol hormones. When this happens, the adrenal glands cannot generate the cortisol levels essential for getting through each day.

Adrenal fatigue, a condition affecting the adrenal glands, comes with various undesirable symptoms. Insomnia is one of them.

8. Melatonin Deficiency

Melatonin is the hormone that controls the biological clock in your body and regulates it. For example, it may be challenging to go into a deep sleep if your body does not have enough melatonin levels.

Exposure to artificial light can throw off the circadian rhythm. Due to this, the majority of males in recent times suffer from melatonin deficiency.

Causes of Insomnia in Females

Intricate and sensitive, sleep is affected by many facets of a person’s health. Sleep disorders, mental health concerns, poor sleep habits, circadian rhythm disturbances, and concurrent medical problems are a few common reasons for insomnia in women.

But men and women aren’t equally affected by these issues. It’s no secret that women have it more challenging than males to get a good night’s rest. It can be because of biological differences or societal pressures.

In the following paragraphs, we’ll look at some of the sleep-related issues women face. This may help explain why they report higher rates of insomnia.

1. Anxiety, Stress, And Mood Disorders

Anxiety, Stress, And Mood Disorders

In conditions like depression, anxiety, and stress hamper sleep, women fare worse than males.

Oversleeping or under-sleeping is a common sign of depression. It is more common in women than in males. However, insomnia is a common problem for both sexes.

But research shows that women are especially prone to worrying and ruminating. Both can exacerbate anxiety and make it difficult to fall asleep or get back to sleep.

Women are prone to experience these illnesses and their negative consequences of sleep. The reasons for these are not understood yet.

Disparities in social and cultural circumstances, such as the disproportionate amount of caregiving activities held by women, may contribute to stress and worry, even if biological factors are also at play.

2. Urinary Issues

Problems with the bladder can cause nocturia or the need to urinate frequently throughout the night. Overactive bladder and urine incontinence affect women at a rate two times that of males.

Researchers have shown that up to 76 percent of women above 40 wake up multiple times during the night to urinate.

3. Pregnancy


Pregnant women frequently experience difficulty sleeping. 30% of pregnant women seldom get a whole night’s rest. And more than half report experiencing insomnia or insomnia-like symptoms.

Hormones and the physical changes that occur during pregnancy might contribute to the inability to sleep.

Problems with sleep duration and quality can be because of various factors. These include the need to urinate often during the night, sore muscles and joints, trouble getting into a comfortable posture, and heartburn.

Restless leg syndrome and respiratory issues like sleep apnea are more common in pregnant women.

Higher rates of poor sleep in postpartum women can be because of many factors. These include hormonal changes, postpartum depression, and difficulty readjusting after pregnancy. Some women can continue to have trouble sleeping long after giving birth.

A mother’s sleep may not return to normal for up to six months following childbirth, depending on the infant’s sleep schedule.

4. Obstructive Sleep Apnea

Obstructive Sleep Apnea

People with obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) have breathing pauses throughout the night. This results in decreased oxygen levels, disturbed sleep, and other catastrophic health implications.

Although both sexes are equally at risk, men are at a higher risk of OSA.

Tests for obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) are often performed at specialized sleep clinics.

This reflects a prejudice towards women in the assessment of their symptoms. But unfortunately, under diagnosis may contribute to persistent sleeping issues in particular women. This is because untreated OSA is a primary source of sleep disruption.

5. Restless Leg Syndrome

The inability to sleep is a common sign of restless leg syndrome (RLS). It is an illness characterized by an irresistible need to move the legs while lying down.

The specific reason RLS affects more women than males is unclear. However, it may be related to hormonal changes during pregnancy.

6. Parasomnias

Parasomnias, which are sleep-related habits, can lead to sleep deprivation. Nightmare disorder, characterized by recurrent nightmares, is said to be more frequent in women than men.

7. Sleep Deficit And Sleep Loss Management

Sleep Deficit And Sleep Loss Management

The effects of sleep deprivation vary among individuals. Based on sleep patterns research, women experience sleep deprivation’s effects more than males.

However, women may have less flexibility to recuperate from sleep deprivation. This is due to the gender pay gap and the unequal distribution of household caregiving obligations.

80% of women in one survey said they shrugged off daytime sleepiness and carried on with their day. This can snowball impact one’s ability to get quality sleep.

Also Read: How to Sleep Comfortably With a Chemo Port?

The Bottom Line

Insomnia is a condition characterized by difficulties falling asleep and remaining asleep all night. Symptoms include having trouble sleeping, waking up late or too early in the morning, feeling tired and drowsy, irritability, and increased anxiety during the daytime.

You might still have insomnia even if you are a man, although it is more common among women.

Men are more likely to experience insomnia due to factors such as their advanced age, pre-existing health issues, drugs, stress, and depression.

Sleep quality affects our physical and mental health, making it vital, regardless of gender. Because of this, insomnia is a significant condition that requires attention.

You should consult your primary care physician if you’re having trouble sleeping. They will be able to provide you with treatment options to help alleviate your symptoms. These include recommending modifications to your lifestyle, cognitive-behavioral therapy, or medication.

Sarah Wagner

I'm Sarah Wagner, and I founded Sweet Island Dreams in 2022. It's a blog dedicated to helping people mental vacation virtually anytime they want. By providing information about the best sleep of your life, I help people drift away to paradise without ever having to leave their bed!