New evidence has revealed that young women suffer staggering rates of sleeplessness is reportedly symptomatic of a far deeper, more troubling problem of mental health decline being ignored by the system.
On Monday, a study by Roy Morgan Research revealed that twice the percentage of women (16%) suffered from insomnia than men (8%).
Of all age groups, the greatest difference was among young women aged 18-24 and 25-34, the same age groups that suffer high – and worsening – rates of mental wellbeing.
The link between insomnia and mental health was made by Roy Morgan Research. In a statement, a spokeswoman described the gender imbalance as “startling”, citing as potential causes higher rates of anxiety, stress and depression in young women.
This accorded with an earlier Roy Morgan study, which in June reported a “freefall” in psychological wellbeing for women aged 18-24, especially in the past 18 months. The causes of this decline include low self-esteem, the after-effects of physical and emotional violence perpetrated by men, societal pressures and a biologically lower tolerance for stress, Professor Kulkarni said.
For example, childhood trauma, often inflicted by men, has triggered a condition called ‘borderline personality disorder’ in as many as 15 per cent of all women, she said. Symptoms include sleeplessness, depression, eating disorders, self-harm, relationship problems, difficulty concentrating and more.
“Women tend to cope less well biologically with stress and there’s lots of evidence for why that’s the case. It’s because of the difference in the hormone sensitivity in brain circuitry,” Professor Kulkarni said.
“Sleep deprivation is one of those stress reactions.”