Sleep is an essential part of maintaining your overall health. Like managing your diet, managing your sleep habits will invariably affect your mood and performance. However, certain lifestyles and conditions make it difficult to achieve an ideal amount of sleep every night. For women, who are twice as likely to experience sleep disturbances than men, this is especially true. Read the following overview of common women’s sleep issues that stem from a range of biological factors:
- Menopause: Menopause is a natural stage in a woman’s life, beginning at the tail end of her reproductive years. During this time, a woman can experience sudden hot flashes and sweating. Tossing and turning throughout the night and general discomfort can make it difficult to achieve adequate rest. An increase in abdominal fat and reduced progesterone levels are also known to bring on sleep apnea.
- Pregnancy: The physical and hormonal changes that occur in the last months of a pregnancy make it challenging for women to sleep well. A common side effect is restless leg syndrome—a sensation in the body that provokes constant movement in order to feel comfortable. The first few weeks of motherhood are especially taxing on women who are awaken throughout the night to tend to a crying baby. Aiming for a continuous block of sleep will significantly reduce anxiety and exhaustion.
- Pre-Menstruation: It is common for healthy women to experience difficulty sleeping a week before their menstruation begins. Studies find that REM sleep decreases during menstruation because progesterone levels raise body temperature. Since REM sleep occurs when the body temperature is at its lowest, increased progesterone can negatively affect sleep quality.
- Lifestyle: Women—especially single mothers—who are under pressure to raise children while working are likely to experience sleep deprivation. An inconsistent work schedule or frequent traveling can compromise your ability to exercise and relax, which are important to improving your receptiveness to sleep.
As the medical community continues to discover links between sleep and performance, the doctors at the Illinois Neurological Institute are here to improve your quality of sleep. Our Sleep Center features state-of-the-art facilities and comprehensive care to our patients. To learn more, call us at (309) 740-3766.