Most of us have experienced trouble sleeping at one time or another. This is normal and usually temporary, due to stress or other outside factors. But if sleep problems are a regular occurrence and interfere with your daily life, you may be suffering from a sleep disorder. Sleep disorders cause more than just sleepiness. The lack of quality sleep can have a negative impact on your energy, emotional balance, and health. The good news? You don’t have to live with sleeping problems.
Sleep is a basic human need, as important for good health as diet and exercise. When we sleep, our bodies rest but our brains are active. Sleep lays the groundwork for a productive day ahead. Although most people need seven to nine hours of sleep each night to function well the next day, the National Sleep Foundation (NSF) 1998 Women and Sleep Poll found that the average woman aged 30-60 sleeps only six hours and forty-one minutes during the workweek.
A 2007 survey conducted by the National Sleep Foundation found that two-thirds of the women polled say they have had sleep problems a couple nights a week in the past month. That’s not good — unhealthy sleep patterns affect women’s health and might even lead to a shorter life span than men’s.
Women require about 20 more minutes of sleep than men do. That’s because they expend more mental energy each day—in other words, they multitask and use more of their brains. Sleep is the time when the brain regenerates, and since women’s brains have more work to do during slumber, they require more of it.
“For a similar sleep schedule, we find that women’s body clock causes them to fall asleep and wake up earlier than men,” said study author Diane B. Boivin in a statement. “The reason is simple: their body clock is shifted to a more easterly time zone. This observed difference between the sexes is essential for understanding why women are more prone to disturbed sleep than men.”
What makes woman’s brain more complex?
Significant differences exist between the male and female brains. Although what follows has been meticulously gathered from the research and writings of leading scientists and psychologists, it is by no means a hard and fast rule or description of every man and every woman. Every person is different and unique.
Do you feel like you’re always tired? Are you having trouble staying awake during prime time sitcoms? Most of us know what it’s like to be tired, especially when we have a cold, flu, or some other viral infection. But when you suffer from a constant lack of energy and ongoing fatigue, it may be time to check with your doctor.
How to improve your sleep quality
Falling asleep may seem like an impossible dream when you’re awake at 3 a.m., but good sleep is more under your control than you might think. Following healthy sleep habits can make the difference between restlessness and restful slumber. Researchers have identified a variety of practices and habits—known as “sleep hygiene”—that can help anyone maximize the hours they spend sleeping, even those whose sleep is affected by insomnia, jet lag, or shift work.
Stick to a sleep schedule of the same bedtime and wake up time, even on the weekends. This helps to regulate your body’s clock and could help you fall asleep and stay asleep for the night.
Create a room that’s ideal for sleeping. Often, this means cool, dark and quiet. Consider using room-darkening shades, earplugs, a fan or other devices to create an environment that suits your needs.
Fight after-dinner drowsiness. If you get sleepy way before your bedtime, get off the couch and do something mildly stimulating, such as washing the dishes, calling a friend, or getting clothes ready for the next day. If you give in to the drowsiness, you may wake up later in the night and have trouble getting back to sleep.
Melatonin is a hormone made by the pineal gland , a small gland in the brain. Melatonin helps control your sleep and wake cycles. Very small amounts of it are found in foods such as meats, grains, fruits, and vegetables. You can also buy it as a supplement.