Women are battling insomnia now more than ever. 5 ways to catch some more zzz’s and why it’s so important to your health to do so.
Have you ever lost sleep because you were going over your never ending to-do list? Or maybe you’re pregnant or on your period or ovulating and you just can’t get comfortable. Maybe you’re worrying about that big meeting at work and… ‘If I go to bed now I’ll get 4 hours, 35 minutes and 7 seconds of sleep…’
You aren’t alone. According to the Sleep Foundation, the average woman aged 30-60 sleeps only six hours and forty-one minutes during the workweek. Nothing a cup of coffee can’t fix, right? Wrong. Because we can’t ‘bank’ up our sleep, sleeping a full 8 hours a night is vital. It is just as important as nutrition and exercise to maintaining your overall health.
Misery likes company. Insomnia is the most common sleep problem in the world today. Women are more likely than men to report insomnia. (Wage Gap – meet Sleep Gap). In fact, you’re probably reading this article because you can’t sleep and maybe your partner is already snoozing soundly beside you! Ugh. So what can we do about it? Well, first let’s take a look at why we aren’t sleeping.
More than 40 percent of professionals report they often loose sleep because they can’t get their job off their minds, according to a survey done by global staffing firm Accountemps. Nearly 60 percent of young people (between the ages of 18 and 34) report losing sleep over work, compared with just 29 percent of people over the age of 55. So you’re kicking butt at work or finally landed that dream job or got that big account you were after but at the expense of your precious sleep? All signs point to yes.
But wait, there’s more. It’s not just the work that’s robbing us of our precious sleep. In fact, our biological makeup can actually work against us. Say what?! Estrogen works on different neurotransmitter pathways that may have an impact on the regulation of sleep. Ok break that down for me. Basically, doctors believe that hormonal shifts can affect our ability to fall or stay asleep according to Dianne Augelli, M.D., a sleep expert at the Weill Cornell Center for Sleep Medicine. SO just the fact that we are women and women have more estrogen than men makes us less likely to sleep? Yes.
Is that all? No.
Other factors such as menopause, depression, anxiety, your partner and your children all contribute to the loss of sleep. Fun fact: Anxiety and depression can cause insomnia AND insomnia can cause anxiety and depression. So if you didn’t have a mental health condition before these years of disrupted sleep, you may now have one because of it.
Ok, I’m wide awake. Now, how can I get some sleep?
No longer do doctors recommend counting sheep. It’s too similar to counting the things on our to-do list. Try these 5 things to get a better night’s rest.
1.) Take a bath
I know, I am a shower person too. I used to judge the bath people but this really works. Soaking in the tub makes your body temperature naturally rise and when you get out, the sudden drop in temperature will help your body fall asleep faster. Bonus, you also usually get a deeper rest. Try adding Lavender oil for added relaxation or this magic sleep oil i’ve recently been obsessed with from Amazon.
Everyone’s heard about nesting for babies, but you can nest for sleep too! The environment you create for your sleep is vital to actually achieving it. The perfect conditions? 60-67 degrees, no lights (even consider flipping your cell phone over in case of late night texts), a comfortable mattress, limited noise or white noise and breathable sheets to help with temperature control. We love the Casper mattress brand and try out these affordable, breathable sheets !
3.) Take a natural Melatonin Supplement
We aren’t a fan of taking pills for sleep but totally understand that some women experience such extreme insomnia they have no choice but to medicate. Lucky for us, there is a natural way to help lull you into la la land. Melatonin’s job in the body is to regulate sleep-wake cycles. Taking a natural supplement can help trigger your sleep receptors. Try out this all natural brand of melatonin.
4.) Ditch the Blue Light
Research has found that exposure to blue light, commonly absorbed through cell phone, TV and computer use, suppresses the production of melatonin. We just reviewed how important melatonin is to sleep so it’s up to you to ditch the blue light technology at least 2 hours before bedtime. Alternatively, you can buy these blue light blocking glasses. Although the glasses are cool, research says that the engagement with technology is stimulating to the brain so it’s probably best just to curl up with a book instead.
5.) Exercise, but not before bed
Exercise is one of the best science-backed ways to improve sleep. It has been proven to reduce symptoms of insomnia. We found one study that showed exercise reduced time to fall asleep by 55%, total night wakefulness by 30% and anxiety by 15% while increasing total sleep time by 18%. Plus, we all know how important exercise is to our overall health. Sounds like a win, win! Unfortunately, performing exercise too late in the day may cause sleep problems. This is due to the stimulatory effect of exercise. So get your steps in before dinner time and you should be sleeping more soundly in no time!
Let us know if these tips and tricks worked for you!