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Women Have More Sleep Problems, Brazilian Researchers Find

June 19, 2019

By Rob Goodier

NEW YORK—More women than men have trouble sleeping, and people of both sexes with insomnia have a lower perception of quality of life, according to a study done in Sao Paulo, Brazil.

The findings, presented June 9 at Sleep 2019, the annual meeting of the Associated Professional Sleep Societies in San Antonio, Texas, may reflect urban sleep patterns worldwide, experts say.

"When it comes to quality of life and sleep, it is important to take care of health, considering the multiple aspects involved in sleep problems. Thus, a multi-professional approach, and also the use of integrative and complementary practices, are important tools to achieve this goal," lead author Dr. Leandro Lucena of Universidade Federal de Sao Paulo told Reuters Health by email.

Dr. Lucena and colleagues recruited 1,042 adult volunteers to represent the population of Sao Paulo, evaluated their sleep patterns with polysomnography and their perceived quality of life with the shortened version of the World Health Organization's Quality of Life scale (WHOQOL-BREF).

Fewer women (33.3%) than men (42.1%) were "good sleepers," as defined by criteria in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, 4th edition.

Men (47.2%) and women (48.6%) had insomnia symptoms at almost similar rates, but more women had insomnia syndrome, at 18.1% versus 10.7%. People with insomnia reported worse quality of life than did good sleepers.

The researchers differentiate insomnia symptoms from insomnia syndrome by whether or not lack of sleep interferes with daily activities.

Lifestyle is a factor in sleep quality, suggesting that these findings may be similar in other cities, Dr. Lucena said.

The study's finding of a relationship between insomnia and quality of life also reflects research worldwide, said Dr. Jennifer Martin, a specialist in behavioral sleep medicine at the University of California, Los Angeles, who was not involved in this study.

"The findings from this study suggest that poor sleep is a world-wide problem, and not just a problem in the U.S. The impact of insomnia on quality of life is also similar to what is found in other countries," Dr. Martin told Reuters Health by email.


Sleep 2019.

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