Sleep is as important for good health as diet and exercise. Yet more than 2 out of 3 women regularly do not get enough sleep.
Not sleeping enough can make you more likely to catch a cold, stay sick longer and gain weight. Lack of sleep also increases your risk of getting diabetes and heart disease, suffering from depression, getting in car accidents and trouble concentrating at school and work.
The average woman aged 30-60 years sleeps only 6 hours and 41 minutes. For optimum health and function, the average adult should get 7-9 hours of sleep every night. Want to sleep more? Read on!
Women Need More Sleep Than Men
According to Dr. Jim Horne, Britain’s leading expert in sleep science, women need twenty more minutes of sleep than men. Dr. Hornes believes that because women tend to multi-task and use more of their actual brain than men, they need more sleep.
This may be due to insomnia or another underlying condition that may require medical attention. But most women with a sleep debt run it up by burning the candle at both ends — consistently failing to get to bed on time or stay there long enough.
Evolve’s 11 Tips for Getting the Rest You Need
- Make sleep a priority! You need to get enough sleep–for all the reasons listed above. Make the time. Many women are so busy caring for their family, working and multitasking that they just don’t make their own health, or sleep, a priority. Remember the airplane analogy: put your mask on first then put your kid’s mask on.
- Power down. Turn off TVs, laptops, iPads and phones at least 30 minutes before bedtime.
- Sleep and sex only. Try not to use your bed for anything other than sleep or sex. Don’t sit in bed working, surfing or watching TV.
- Get into a routine. Go to bed at the same time (roughly) and wake at the same time, even on weekends.
- Avoid caffeine. Caffeine can stay in your body for up to 12 hours. And remember that even small amounts of chocolate have caffeine. In fact, chocolate chips have 104mg caffeine per cup.
- Exercise. Gentle mind-body exercise like yoga or tai chi are great to do before bed. More vigorous aerobic exercise will also help you sleep better–but plan to finish exercising at least 3 hours before bedtime.
- Mood lighting. Dimming your lights 2 to 3 hours before bedtime will help signal your brain to amen more melatonin. When reading, use a low wattage bulb.
- Kick the pets out. We love to sleep with our cats and dogs but their nighttime rustling can cut your sleep. They also may be bringing allergy triggers into your bed like pollen or their fur.
- Nap only if necessary. Taking a nap at the peak of sleepiness in the afternoon can help to supplement hours missed at night. But naps can also interfere with your ability to sleep at night and throw your sleep schedule into disarray. If you need to nap, limit it to 20 to 30 minutes.
- Alcohol. Although that 1 or 2 glasses of wine will relax you before bed and make even help you fall asleep, it disturbs your sleep cycle resulting in less restful and restorative sleep.
- Breath. Consider some form of meditation to help clear your thoughts. Write down a list of all those concerns in your head, the tasks for the next day or the worries you are having. Then forget about them until tomorrow. Ruminating on them into insomnia doesn’t help.
Lastly, know when to see your doctor. If your sleeplessness lasts for a month or more, see your doctor. Some health conditions such as acid reflux, depression and anxiety or even arthritis, neck or back pain may be keeping you from getting the rest your need.
If you have any questions about your sleep or have been experiencing insomnia for more than 1 month, Evolve Medical is always happy to see you. Same day scheduling on-line here or call 844-322-4222. Or email them at [email protected]