Women in Spain sleep more poorly than men and women take more medication to get it Health & Wellness

Women in Spain sleep worse than men and take more medications than men to get through the night. This is one of the findings of the 40dB sleep survey. FOR EL PAÍS AND CADENA SER. A national survey on sleeping patterns not only reflects how a country’s residents spend the night: according to experts, it is an X-ray – incomplete but true – of a society and the deeper problems that plague it. As Dr. Juan Antonio Madrid, Professor of Physiology and Director of the Chronobiology Laboratory at the University of Murcia, has said, “Sleep cannot be separated from the way we live; sleep is still a symptom that tells us how we Live.” And he adds: “This is where minimum healthy requirements, required free time, shortcomings and inequalities come from.”

The first revealing information: 63.9% of people who admit to suffering from poor quality sleep are women and almost half of them are between 45 and 64 years of age. On the other hand, the disparity is also shocking: 52.4% of the population claims to sleep well all the time or sleep well most of the time. Of these, 59.9% are men. Another fact: 60% of this population group that recognizes good sleep is able to save. Sleep quality is also age-related: it gradually worsens during working life (the worst sleep in men and women occurs between 55 and 64 years) and improves with retirement.

Women consume more sleep products than men. either relaxing infusions (54.4% compared to 39.2%), anxiolytics (26.3% compared to 20.3%) or antidepressants (18.9% compared to 14.5%).

And why do poor sleepers get poor sleep? What prevents Spaniards from sleeping? According to the survey, eight out of ten Spaniards say that one of the reasons should be found in stress or anxiety. The number of women who sleep poorly and point to this reason increases to 85%. This percentage (85.7%) is higher than those who attribute poor sleep to stress, worries and inability to make ends meet. And this reaches 90% (91.2%) of people who attribute poor sleep to anxiety and who have children under nine years of age. Other reasons that prevent poor sleepers from sleeping are changes in daily routine (41.8%) and poor environmental conditions (41.5%). 38.6% also admitted that this could be due to the use of electronic devices before going to bed (this percentage increased to 70.8% among those surveyed aged 18 to 24, 48.3% among the unemployed and 42.4% among women). % Done).

Marta Carmona, psychiatrist, representative of MAS Madrid at the Assembly of the Community of Madrid and author of the book on mental health we are worried (Capitan Swing, 2022), assures that there are three factors that, in his opinion, explain why women sleep less and worse: “First, the overload of care, which generally falls on the woman. This means double working days, and they can never retire. This reduces your sleeping hours. The second is that many women often experience what are called in medicine non-specific symptoms of something, and one of these symptoms is insomnia. And medicine, which until now has been based on male models, has not adequately investigated this. And third, what I would call the emotional component of insomnia. An example: A woman comes for counseling with the onset of depression because her son is unemployed and this worries her. And he can’t sleep. The son is also worried, he too cannot sleep. With time, the son gets a job and starts sleeping better, but the mother still does not sleep because she is worried about her son losing his job. Many women have built their identity on the basis of care and responsibility towards others. “And it’s easy for them to get stuck there.”

Both Madrid and Carmona experts point to menopause at a certain age as a decisive factor that deprives women of rest, since the body stops secreting a hormone that helps to fall asleep, but Both also remember that there are other factors. Social problems with greater burden: uncertainty, economic burden, above household workload, lack of work…

In any case, all psychiatrists and psychologists specify that each insomnia patient is a special world: 48-year-old Silvia (false name because she prefers not to reflect her identity), assures that she has had problems sleeping all her life. Having: “When I was little and I would go to a friend’s house to spend the night and they would always wake me up first,” she remembers. She always slept very little. Always a little more than six hours. Sometimes Not eight. He has always been unable to get up late. He got used to it. But, over the years, to this general insomnia, it might be said, another has been added: there are days when he wakes up at 3 or Wakes up at 4 a.m., and then can’t sleep. If you have anxiety, getting up early in the morning is automatic and inevitable. She’s been self-medicating for a long time. “If I get nervous, I I’m half Orfidalite.” Ana (so named), 40, has spent two or three nights without sleep several times throughout her life. It all started because of work stress. Work stress Decreased, but not insomnia. It was only through a visit to a psychiatrist and controlled medication that I got halfway decent sleep again.

sleep well and feel good

There is a strong connection between good sleep and feeling good. According to the survey, people who claim to enjoy good quality sleep also claim to enjoy a satisfactory life, with a rating of 7.5. And another way: People who suffer from insomnia (two out of every three are women) rate their lives with basic approval: 5.2. This does not mean that women are unhappy because they sleep less. Maybe it’s the other way around: They sleep less because they’re sad. In fact, everything is mixed, this is another example of the chicken and egg theorem. It is known that good sleep helps you be happy. The Madrid expert has this to say: “Deep sleep contains a component capable of stabilizing mood. It helps you get relief from, for example, the death of a family member, any trauma, any problem you have, it frees you from bad memories, it adapts to them so that you can accept them. The absence of that dream causes you to be less empathetic, more irritable, more suffering, to keep thinking about it…”

Spaniards sleep an average of 7.3 hours on weekdays. According to experts, this is an acceptable but minimum amount. And a large portion, 60%, go to bed between 11 and 1 a.m. on weekdays. According to these same experts, it is too late. Before going to bed, 32.6% watch a series or movie, 29.3% surf the Internet, 13.7% chat with someone, 13.5% read, 7.0% work and 3% alone or with someone. Let’s have sex.

What’s said: The survey that tells us how we sleep tells us how we live. Psychiatrist Marta Carmona describes it this way: “It’s an important X-ray of what kind of society we have. There is a lack of infrastructure for care and many things because of the unpaid and unrecognized work of many women and the price that is paid is this: the loss of quality of life of a specific sector of the population.

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