Women and Sleep
Quality sleep gives us with energy we need during the day to function well. Refreshing sleep increases job performance, improves mood and overall well-being. The lack of sleep increases accidental injuries and stress. Stress evokes negative emotions such as anxiety and depression. Women suffer twice as often from sleep deprivation as men. Some common cycles of life where women experience heightened sleep issues are, during the menstrual cycle, pregnancy, and throughout the menopausal stages. Women who find their daily lives affected by the lack of sleep should always discuss these issues with their doctor.
Sleep During the Menstrual Cycle
The menstrual cycle can cause frequent awakenings and this impacts both the quantity and quality of sleep. The following are common premenstrual symptoms and strategies to improve sleep.
|Premenstrual Sleep Complaints||Strategies to Improve Sleep|
|Bloating and abdominal cramping||Eat a healthy diet|
|Headaches||Follow good sleep habits|
Sleep During Pregnancy
Pregnancy is a time of great joy and anticipation. Sleeping during pregnancy can be double the trouble for mother and child. The hormonal changes that occur during pregnancy are the likely culprit of the sleep issues, especially in the second and third trimester. The following are common complaints during pregnancy and strategies to improve sleep while avoiding sleep aids that can negatively affect you and your baby.
|Pregnancy Sleep Complaints||Strategies to Improve Sleep|
|Frequent urination||Eat a healthy diet|
|Cramping||Follow good sleep habits|
|Nighttime heartburn||Use relaxation techniques for discomfort|
|Positional sleep discomfort||No alcohol or sleeping pills (unless ordered by your doctor)|
Remember to make sleep a priority for you and your baby during pregnancy and after your delivery.
Sleep during Menopause
Menopause triggers additional burdens for women during sleep. The aging process alone increases nighttime awakenings and decreases the quantity of sleep for a woman. The depth of sleep is also reduced, thus decreasing the quality of sleep. This combination, along with hormonal changes, compiles against a woman's ability to achieve the sleep she needs.
|Menopausal Sleep Complaints||Strategies to Improve Sleep|
|Hot flashes-night sweats||Eat a healthy diet|
|Anxiety-depression||Follow good sleep habits|
|Daytime fatigue||Add vitamin E to your diet (supplement)|
|Increased heat rate||Talk to your doctor about hormone replacement therapy|
|Pain during sleep||Avoid bedtime hot bathing|
Talk to your doctor about the problems that you are experiencing and incorporate good sleep habits for a better night's sleep.
Good Sleep Habits
|Things to Avoid||Things to Include|
|Alcohol (especially before bedtime)||Establish a regular sleep schedule both sleep time and wake time|
|Nicotine||Exercise 3 hours before bedtime (within your doctor's guidelines)|
|Caffeine especially 8 hrs before bedtime||Eat a healthy diet (within your doctor's guidelines)|
|Heavy and/or spicy meals before bedtime||Eat a light snack before bedtime|
|Watching the clock (turn the clock away from your visual)||Create a comfortable, cool, dark sleep environment|
|Going to bed when you are not sleepy||Establish relaxing habits at bedtime such as reading and meditation|
|Lingering in bed sleepless for more than 15 minutes||When sleepless leave your bed and do something relaxing|
|TV, long engaging reading or computer during the night||Use your bed for sex and sleep only|