Let’s face it; most of the world is sleep deprived. Perhaps without even realizing it. Busy schedules and family life mean that you may be lucky to get five hours of sleep in a night, forget the recommended seven or eight. The vast majority of modern Americans subsist on a hearty diet of caffeine and manic exhaustion, fooling themselves into thinking that they’re well-rested. If you’re a woman and have felt like you just never get enough sleep, it’s not all in your head. Read on to find out more.
The truth about sleep
The American Academy of Sleep Medicine and the Sleep Research Society recommend that adults aged 18–60 years sleep get least 7 hours each night for optimal health and mental function. This number varies depending on age, activity level, quality of sleep, and even gender.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, (CDC), 1 in 3 adults is sleep deprived. This epidemic doesn’t just lead to a more exhausted, distracted populace either. Too little sleep can contribute to severe issues such as type 2 diabetes, obesity, high blood pressure, stroke, and mental health disorders.
So what does gender have to do with sleep?
Sleep is the body’s way of shutting down everything but crucial life functions to encode memories, rest muscles, and recover from the day. Therefore, it is natural to expect that when your brain is incredibly active, and when you have frequent sleep disturbances, you will need to sleep longer. Gender can affect these factors and have a role in how long you should spend in bed. Though the specific amount may vary, research suggests that the average woman needs about 20 minutes more shut-eye than the average man.
Why do women need more sleep
Greater mental energy
Saying that women exercise greater mental energy is not a slight on men, but a simple fact of life. Women are hardwired to multitask, and their brains are constantly processing information and thinking about things. This overexertion of mental energy necessitates a few minutes of extra sleep to help restore the brain and allow it to recover.
Pregnancy certainly takes a toll on a woman’s body, and it’s no walk in the park to carry around a growing fetus for nine months. Hormonal, physical, and emotional changes during pregnancy all contribute to increased insomnia and the need for more rest.
Hot flashes and hormonal disruption can cause serious insomnia issues for older women. Trouble falling asleep or staying asleep means that you need more time to make up for poor quality rest.
In case you haven’t noticed the trend, the female reproductive system has a lot to do with the discrepancies in sleep needs between men and women. Cramps, headaches, mood swings, and all the other wonderful gifts from your monthly visitor guarantee at least a few nights of interrupted, non-restorative sleep.
Restless leg syndrome
Restless leg syndrome is a condition that causes you to feel an inexplicable urge to move your legs, particularly at night when you have no distractions, and you are trying to fall asleep. Women are more likely than men to experience this condition and need more rest to make up for the disrupted shut-eye.
Tips for a restful night
Sleep is crucial, and it is worth spending a little time and effort to create your optimal sleep environment.
Stick to a routine: Develop a healthy bedtime routine where you go to bed and get up at the same time every morning. This will help let your body know that it is time for bed, and you will be able to wind down.
Avoid caffeine: Don’t drink coffee or caffeinated tea after 3 p.m or earlier if you are sensitive to stimuli.
Turn off electronics: Avoid looking at any blue light for the last hour before bed. Set down your smartphone, turn off the TV, and close your laptop. Read a book or write in a journal to help collect your thoughts and prepare for the night.
Exercise daily: Spend at least 30 minutes per day in moderate to high-intensity exercise. This will help wear out your body and allow you to sleep better.
-The Alternative Daily