When it comes to sleep, women struggle.
According to a study conducted by Women’s Health, the American Sleep Association and Thrive Global, out of 1,500 women ages 18 to 55, 88% said they regularly don’t sleep through the night. What’s even more shocking is that one-third of those women said they never achieve a solid night’s sleep with no interruptions. Never!
Not only are women waking up more frequently than the opposite sex, they also need more sleep in general. The National Sleep Foundation suggests that because of a woman’s tendency to multi-task and use more of their brains throughout the day, they need about 20 more minutes of sleep a night than men.
This need for more sleep, plus all of these disturbances to your slumber, adds up and prevents you from getting the restorative sleep needed for your optimal physical and mental health. While poor sleep can leave you feeling sluggish and irritable in the short-term, it has also been reported that women who consistently don’t sleep well throughout the night have a higher risk of developing depression, diabetes and heart disease in the future.
It isn’t just one thing that keeps women up at night; there are a few different factors that can be contributing to your sleeplessness.
You’re probably familiar with the bloating, cramps, irritability and fatigue associated with your period, but there is one PMS symptom you may not have heard about in health class: an increase in sleep disturbances. Most women don’t even realize that the reason they are tossing and turning is related to your menstrual cycle; because your body’s core temperature rises during this time, you’re less likely to feel sleepy. Since people sleep best when their body temperature is at its lowest, be sure you’re keeping your sleep environment dark and cool. You can also help promote sleep by taking a warm bath or shower before bed. The contrast with your bedroom’s cooler temperature after a warm shower will help lower your body temperature and promote the onset of sleep.
While pregnancy is a beautiful and exciting time for most mothers-to-be, it is also a time women report frequent sleep disturbances. Bouts of nausea, heartburn and changing hormone levels can make it difficult to sleep through the night, especially in the first and third trimesters when hormones fluctuate the most. Additionally, anxiety and emotions related to the pregnancy, labor and delivery could also cause a significant loss of sleep. Unfortunately, once the baby is born, sleep doesn’t get any easier. Despite these difficulties, however, it is imperative to prioritize sleep and address any sleep problems early on in your pregnancy to prevent problems associated with not getting enough shut-eye.
During menopause, the hormones that regulate a woman’s menstrual cycle and reproductive function begin to decline. These hormones – progesterone, estrogen and testosterone – also impact a woman’s energy levels, emotions, mood, sex drive and sleep. Not only is a decrease in hormones responsible for the poor sleep often reported during menopause, but hot flashes, night sweats and medication side effects also contribute to your sleep disturbances. While you may get some relief from your symptoms and sleep better post-menopause, every woman is different and individual experiences can vary greatly. To combat these issues, it is important to take actions to improve your sleep when you first notice a problem. Along with the decrease in estrogen that is at the root of menopause, production of melatonin, another critical hormone in your body, decreases as well. Melatonin is the body’s own sleep hormone and directly impacts your quality and length of sleep.
One of the most effective ways to improve how well you sleep at night is to establish a consistent exercise routine. Engaging in physical fitness during the day makes it easier for you to fall asleep at your bedtime. Yoga, strength training and cardio are all great ways to help you stay fit and can naturally help you sleep at night. Just avoid any exercise too close to your bedtime because it usually results in sleeplessness. Give your body time to cool down and unwind after a workout.
What you do – or don’t do – during the day and before you go to bed can greatly affect the quality of your sleep. Getting a good night’s sleep starts way before your head hits the pillow. While it is impossible to avoid the normal parts of life that lead to restless sleep, there are steps you can take to reduce the impact of insufficient shut-eye on your mental and physical health. The Sleep Hygiene Cycle™ was developed to help you improve your sleep quality with seven simple steps. This includes things like optimizing your sleep space, avoiding caffeine after noon and giving yourself enough time to wind down before bed. By creating and implementing a consistent routine, your mind and body are more likely to be ready for sleep before you lay down for the night.
If you’re looking for a safe and effective solution to your sleep problems, a high-quality melatonin sleep aid may be able to help. REMfresh is a clinically-tested, over-the-counter supplement developed to deliver UltraMel® melatonin continuously for up to 7 hours. Not only does this unique, patented delivery system help you fall asleep, it can also help you stay asleep so you wake up refreshed and ready to take on the day. Additionally, REMfresh, the #1 Sleep-Doctor Recommended sleep aid, can be taken nightly and is non-habit forming.
While the anxiety of not getting enough sleep can stress you out even more and further worsen your sleep problems, try to relax. There are simple, natural things you can do to improve your sleep, and, in turn, your health in the long run. If you recognize that you are struggling with occasional sleeplessness, making lifestyle modifications can go a long way.