Nearly 70 percent of American women report that they get less than the recommended eight hours sleep a night. Some, especially those in the 40 to 60 age bracket, get as little as five hours. I think most people are aware of the health risks of sleep deprivation.
"Women's sleep patterns can be affected by their unique health issues as well as their struggle to balance family and work demands," said Amy Wolfson, Ph.D., sleep expert and author of The Woman's Book of Sleep: A Complete Resource Guide. "The Better Sleep Council survey shows more women are beginning to understand the connection between a lack of sleep and increased heath risks. But women need to be more vigilant and take concrete steps to improve their sleep to ensure maximum health benefits."
The Better Sleep council warns that it's not just the quantity of sleep that counts. Quality is important as well. Stress and illnesses, including colds and allergies, add to the problem.
To help women Start Every Day with a Good Night's SleepTM, the Better Sleep Council and the National Sleep Foundation recommend these ten valuable sleep tips:
- Maintain a regular bed and wake time schedule, including weekends.
- Establish a regular, relaxing bedtime routine, such as soaking in a hot bath or hot tub and then reading a book or listening to soothing music.
- Create a sleep-conducive environment that is dark, quiet, comfortable and cool.
- Sleep on a comfortable mattress and pillows.
- Use your bedroom only for sleep and sex. It is best to take work materials, computers and televisions out of the sleeping environment.
- Finish eating at least two to three hours before your regular bedtime.
- Exercise regularly. It is best to complete your workout at least a few hours before bedtime.
- Avoid nicotine (e.g., cigarettes, tobacco products). Used close to bedtime, it can lead to poor sleep.
- Avoid caffeine (e.g., coffee, tea, soft drinks, chocolate) close to bedtime. It can keep you awake.
- Avoid alcohol close to bedtime. It can lead to disrupted sleep later in the night.
According to a survey by the Better Sleep Council, the top three factors that rob women of sleep are:
- Work- and/or family-related stress
- Ailments such as an allergy or cold
- Uncomfortable mattress or pillows
Published On: March 11, 2010