The study analyzed data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey. The survey is unique in that it combines interviews and physical exams.
The sample involved 5,469 young adults; their age ranged from 20 years to 39 years.
Results show that 16.7 percent of women reported insomnia symptoms; 9.2 percent of men had an insomnia complaint.
Why are women more likely than men to have insomnia? The study suggests that mental health is a key factor.
The gender difference in the odds of insomnia was no longer significant after adjusting for history of mental health conditions. The authors concluded that the higher rate of insomnia in women may be linked to mental health problems such as depression.
The NIMH reports that depression is also more common among women than men. This may be explained in part by hormonal factors that are unique to women.
The AASM reports that insomnia is seen in up to 85 percent of people with a major depressive episode. Frequent awakenings during the night are typical; waking up early in the morning and being unable to go back to sleep also is common.
Often the insomnia complaint is among the earliest symptoms to appear in a person with a mental health disorder. People often attribute their mental symptoms to poor sleep.