What's really interfering with your slumber and what causes insomnia?
Not catching enough sleep can have serious health consequences. Poor sleep has been linked to diabetes, cancer and heart disease and makes you more prone to weight gain by affecting the hormones that control hunger and satiety. It can hurt your mental health, too. Besides making you irritable, sleep deprivation increases your likelihood of developing depression, depression is almost always accompanied by sleeplessness. Women are also more likely to have depression and anxiety, which are linked to sleep disorders.
Insomnia – difficulty falling asleep or getting back to sleep or the inability to stay asleep – is the most common sleep disorder for women. It affects about 40 percent of the general population, and women are 1.5 times more likely to experience it than men. Many women just aren't getting the sleep they need to feel rested. Women are much more likely to have sleep problems than men, a large part of it is due to reproductive hormones and stage of life, even in this day and age, it’s usually the woman who ends up taking care of kids or aging family members in the night.
The biggest sleep stealers
- Electronic devices
The blue light from electronic devices interrupts your body’s natural circadian rhythms, so it takes longer to fall asleep and makes you less alert the next day. Responding to emails, checking your Facebook newsfeed and looking at your iPad close to bedtime can interfere with your ability to fall asleep. The type of material you’re viewing could also be keeping you up. For example, you may get worked up after reading an email with a lastminute meeting request from your boss or watching an adrenalin-fuelled film. Experts recommend banning all technology, including TV, from your bedroom.
Persistent stress can lead to health problems, such as headaches and insomnia. When you’re wired from the stresses of the day, it can be difficult to sleep. And women are more prone to ruminating, they pay more attention to how we're feeling and what's bothering us.
- Fluctuating hormone levels
Women sleep best during the first two weeks of their menstrual cycles, when estrogen levels rise. From mid-cycle ovulation to menstruation, fluctuating hormone levels can cause sleepless nights, where it takes longer to fall asleep and sleep quality plummets. PMS and cramps before or during menstruation can also lead to poor sleep.Hormonal changes, insomnia is more common in middle age. 40 Percent or more of menopausal and post-menopausal women have sleep problems in North America, a lot of people try hormone replacement and that quickly improves sleep. Hot flashes are often to blame, some data show that you can lessen hot flashes with relaxation training, so you might be able to do something without taking any medication at all.
- Eat before bedtime
Eating shortly before going to bed is responsible for sleeplessness. Strong coffee or tea late at night may cause insomnia.
- Your kids
Sleep deprivation is a big problem for mothers waking up with young babies, but it affects parents of kids of all ages. People with children under the age of 15 sleep 17 minutes less than their childless counterparts, while those with two kids sleep 25 minutes less. Being awoken when Junior has a bad dream isn't the only issue. One of the interesting things we see with a lot of women is that they deliberately restrict sleep and stay up later or get up earlier because that’s the only time they have to themselves. To get time on your own without sacrificing sleep, suggests talking to your spouse about scheduling your day differently so you can get a little more time to yourself.
For many families, pets are also big sleep disrupters. If pets sleeps on the bed – or even in the same room – and snores, twitches or scratches during the night, he could be disrupting your rest. Most experts recommend booting cats and dogs from the bedroom.