Both biological and cultural factors can affect the quality of the sleep women are able to get, so improving sleep requires a variety of lifestyle solutions.
Sleep needs change as you change. Everyone remembers being a teenager who had to be dragged out of bed at noon. But perhaps now you’ve had the experience of being regularly awakened by a toddler who rises with the sun. Basically, different groups of people need different amounts of sleep. Young children need anywhere from 9 to 13 hours of sleep to be healthy and grow. Adults need 7 to 9 hours of sleep a night. And a small study led by British scientist Jim Horne at the Sleep Research Center at Loughborough University in England found that women may need 20 to 30 minutes more sleep than men to be healthy.
Why Women Need More Sleep
According to Horne, the major reason women require more sleep than men is that women are more likely to be multitaskers than men. Multitasking requires you to use more of your brain.
“Women tend to multi-task—they do lots at once and are flexible—and so they use more of their actual brain than men do. Because of that, their sleep need is greater,” explained Horne. “The more of your brain you use during the day, the more of it that needs to recover and, consequently, the more sleep you need.”
Multitasking, whether in a woman’s role as the main caretaker of her children or in a professional capacity, is mentally exhausting, and when you throw technology into the mix, women rarely get to wind down properly in order to fall asleep and get enough hours of sleep. They are usually the last ones in their household to go to bed at night and the first ones to get up, often reaching for their phones first thing in the morning to start planning their day. This adds up to fewer hours of sleep overall, leaving women running on a sleep deficit.
Motherhood itself, not surprisingly, also plays a part in women not getting as much sleep as they need. Not only does the daily multi-tasking aspect of motherhood require more time and brainpower, but even when a woman is sleeping, she may not sleep as deeply. “Mother’s minds are sensitive to the sound of their child crying from babyhood onwards, so that is often why they wake when a youngster stirs—yet a man sleeps through it,” said Horne.
Even if a woman isn’t a mother, there are other biological differences that affect the amount of quality sleep women get. During the last week or so of her monthly cycle, a woman has a surge in the hormone progesterone. Increased progesterone production requires additional energy from the body, and that increased energy output means more sleep is needed to replenish energy levels. According to Psychology Today, hormonal changes during PMS may also interfere with melatonin production. This could be why some women tend to experience insomnia right before their period, even if they tend to sleep normally during the rest of the month.
And something as seemingly harmless as being smaller in size than your bed partner can also have an effect on women’s sleep: “When people share a bed, the lighter one tends to get moved around and woken up by the heavier one—normally the man,” Horne notes.
Better Sleep Techniques for Women
So what’s a woman to do? One of the best ways for women to get better sleep is to practice better sleep hygiene, including sticking to a sleep schedule, eating right and exercising during the day, and making sure the bedroom is not only comfortable but also set to a sleep-optimal temperature of 15-20 °C.
While it can be very difficult for women who have the responsibilities of family and career to maintain a sleep schedule, it’s important to carve out time each night to slow down and start shedding the stress and worry of the day before trying to sleep. Some of the most effective approaches for unwinding include activities like these.
Writing is one of the best tactics for reducing stress and getting into a relaxed state of mind before sleeping. A worry journal where you can unload all the major stresses and concerns from the day tamps down lingering anxiety, may help promote deeper sleep at night. Bullet journals can help with organization and defining tasks for the next day, actions that further reduce stress and help the brain slow down. Art journals, which combine making art and writing, enlist creativity to express feelings and identify stressors.
Adult coloring books have become very popular as a method of dealing with stress. Even just 15 or 30 minutes of coloring at night before bed can start the brain’s process of shedding mental clutter so that sleep may be deeper and more restful and restorative. Adult coloring books are inexpensive and don’t require any fancy art supplies. A book to color in and some markers or colored pencils are all you need. It’s an affordable and simple form of relaxation.
Meditation is a fantastic way to process emotions, let go of daily stresses, and focus on getting the best possible sleep at night. Guided meditation apps for smartphones are easy for anyone to follow, including those new to meditation. Meditative breathing is an excellent tool for getting into a relaxed state and preparing the body and mind for sleep. You might want to try the popular meditation apps Calm or Headspace.
Gentle yoga is a good alternative if you’re the type of person who can’t sit still at the end of the day. A relaxing yoga stretching program that is designed to be done before sleep will help relax the body and the mind so sleep comes faster.
5 Other Ways That Women Can Try to Get More Sleep
1. Get Creative With the Sleeping Arrangements
It can be difficult to find creative solutions to resolve the disruption of having a partner in bed who snores, thrashes around, or just generally keeps the other person awake or wakes them up when they are sleeping. Getting a bigger bed so that each of you has plenty of room to spread out is one option, as is having two separate beds in the master bedroom.
Separate bedrooms for each partner is something to consider as well. There is a stigma about married couples sleeping in separate bedrooms, but when one of you cannot get the healing and rejuvenating sleep that you need because of the other person, sometimes it takes resourcefulness to solve the problem. In the last few years, separate bedrooms for couples have cropped up, and some parents and seniors confess that one of them often ends up sleeping in another room in order to get the sleep they need. This is nothing to be ashamed of! If it works to help you both get a good night’s sleep, that’s better for your relationship than trying to sleep in one bed just because that has traditionally been the norm. Separate bedrooms give each of you a space to set up in the manner that is most beneficial for your sleep preferences.
2. Share the Child Care Responsibilities
Women with babies or young children who still wake up at night should try trading off the nighttime responsibilities with their partners. Even though it’s traditionally been expected that the mother will get up in the middle of the night to tend to children, there’s no reason a couple can’t switch off or try other ways to relieve the burden from falling 100% on the woman’s shoulders. This way, at least a few nights of the week, she can catch up on sleep while her partner takes care of, and bonds with, baby.
3. Try Essential Oils
Sleep aids like essential oils or herbal supplements can also promote better sleep. An essential oil diffuser can fill the bedroom with the soothing scent of lavender to encourage relaxation and peace. Other essential oils that can contribute to healthy sleep are chamomile, rose, clary sage, and neroli. Essential oils can be mixed with rubbing alcohol and sprayed on bed linens, pillows, and pajamas to support deeper sleep.
Bath and body products that contain essential oils are luxurious and relaxing too. Just make sure that any products you use on your skin are real essential oils, not fragrance oils. Real essential oils mixed with products are safe for the skin, but fragrance oils can cause rashes or allergic reactions in people that are sensitive to chemicals or perfume.
4. Start A Nightly Tea-Drinking Ritual
Relaxing herbal teas can help you relax at night. Chamomile, hops and valerian root have been used for centuries to address sleep problems gently. And it is believed passionflower soothes nervous tension by increasing the body’s own natural GABA levels, one of the brain’s tools for instilling a sense of calm, so you might also try a passionflower tea if the other flavors don’t suit you.
5. Try an Herbal Supplement
Often people turn to prescription sleep aids or sleeping pills to get sleep, but there are herbal supplements that can promote healthy natural sleep without many of the side effects that prescription medications can have. Melatonin, a natural hormone that tells the body when it’s time to sleep, is a very popular supplement that you’ve probably heard of. However, women of child-bearing age should be careful about taking melatonin. Since it is a hormone, taking more of what your body already produces could put hormonal balances out of whack, interfering with your ability to get pregnant. Instead, consider formulations without melatonin, such as RECHARGE HEALTH™ blissful sleep, which contains magnesium, valerian root extract, lemon balm extract, and other natural ingredients that help promote restful sleep. (Speak with your doctor before taking any supplements.)
The Bottom Line
Whether or not women need more sleep than men differs by individual. However, if you’re a woman who’s feeling tired all the time, pay attention to what your body is telling you, and use the tips mentioned above to be sure you’re getting the rest you need to feel you’re at your best.
Still can’t get the desired night’s rest trying out all these tips? For people that suffer from stress and anxiety it’s harder to shut off your brain, making it difficult to fall asleep. The Somnox Sleep Robot helps you to fall asleep faster, sleep longer and wake up more refreshed.
Getting enough sleep is incredibly important for us, as we require sleep to function. In fact, sleep regulates all of our vital organs, so without sleep we affect not only our mental state, but also our physical wellbeing.
According to the National Lung Heart and Blood Institute (NHLBI), the damage from sleep deficiency can occur in an instant (such as getting into a car crash), or it can harm you over time. The NHLBI add that Adults over 18 years old typically need 7-8 hours per night. Routinely losing sleep can result in ‘sleep debt’. For example, if you lose 2 hours of sleep each night, you’ll have a sleep debt of 14 hours after a week. This can be raise our risk of chronic health problems. It also can affect how well we react, work, learn, and get along with others.
But, how can we improve our sleep? Most of us regularly lose sleep due to stress, anxiety, or depression. When our mind is busy during the day, it’s often difficult to switch off at night. Then, the vicious cycle begins, as we are sleep deprived thus irritable, have impaired judgement and are at a higher risk to develop further anxiety or depression.
This is why we dream! Dreaming is a very essential component of the biological regulating of the mind, and of our emotional balance. A noted dream researcher, Rosalind Cartwright (Psychology PhD, Chicago’s Rush University) says: “dreaming modulates disturbances in emotion, regulating those that are troublesome… It’s almost like having an internal therapist, because you associate [through dreams] to previous similar feelings, and you work through the emotion related to it so that it is reduced by morning.” Dreams can serve as a powerful tool that help us unlock our subconscious, solve the issues we’re facing in our waking life, and learn more about ourselves. It’s kind of why they say “sleep on it”!
Yes, dreams help us to analyze, explain, regulate and remember recent events in our lives, in a kind of “mental housekeeping” process. According to clinical psychotherapist, Jeffrey Sumber: “Dreams also allow us to process information or events that may be painful or confusing in an environment that is at once emotionally real but physically unreal.” Dr. Matthew Walker, UC Berkeley, adds: “I think of dreaming as overnight therapy. It provides a nocturnal soothing balm that takes the short edges off of our emotional experiences so we feel better the next day.”
Often our dreams are actually full of hidden messages, that if we try to decode, could help us in our waking lives. If knowledge is power, then there is no greater power than knowing oneself! According to The National Sleep Foundation, dreams can force us to face an emotional circumstance that’s actually happening in our life, thus allowing us to deal with the emotions in our dreams – a safe and protected environment. Our dreams can help us see the situation in a different light or understand something new about ourselves. Dreams might also help us get to the root of whatever may be causing us to feel anger, fear, or envy. Processing our emotions in a safe environment such as our dreamland, can help us to understand ourselves better and therefore stop running away from life’s problems and face them head on. Sleep studies of recently divorced women with untreated clinical depression, have found that dreaming may also help alleviate depression. Patients who recalled dreams and incorporated the ex-spouse or relationship into their dreams scored better on tests of mood in the morning. And they were much more likely to recover from depression than others who either did not dream about the marriage or could not recall their dreams.
Norepinephrine, a naturally occurring chemical in the body that acts as both a stress hormone and neurotransmitter is released into the blood when the brain perceives that a stressful event has occurred and affects the degree to which the amygdala — the fear center of the brain — is sensitive to stimuli. However, the part of the brain that secretes norepinephrine during wakefulness and non-REM sleep takes a break during Rapid Eye Movement (REM) sleep, according to Itamar Lerner, co-author of the new paper and a postdoctoral sleep researcher at Rutgers University. That shows us how the emotional regulation aspect of dreams has therapeutic value, and decoding our dreams furthers this exploration of the issue, resulting in lowered stress levels and… better quality of sleep! REM sleep also stimulates the brain regions used in learning. One study found that REM sleep affects learning of certain mental skills. People taught a skill and then deprived of non-REM sleep could recall what they had learned after sleeping, while people deprived of REM sleep could not.
As Carl Jung said: “your vision will become clear only when you can look into your own heart. Who looks outside, dreams; who looks inside, awakes.”
So tomorrow, when you wake up, stay still for a moment longer. Go ahead and turn that awful buzzing alarm off, lie right back down, close your eyes, and try to conjure up the images from the dream that is just beginning to fade away. Ask yourself, “Where was I, who else was there, and what was happening?” It’s ok if very little details actually emerge. Whatever you think it might have been, don’t doubt it! Most importantly, ask yourself: How did I feel about it all? Did you wake up feeling anxious, excited, sad, or maybe lustful? Also, try keeping a sleep diary for a couple of weeks. Write down how much you sleep each night, how alert and rested you feel in the morning, and how sleepy you feel during the day. By working through your dreams you’ll find that you sleep better, dream better, and feel better.
Dream more with the Somnox Sleep Robot
For people that suffer from stress and anxiety it’s harder to shut off your brain, making it difficult to fall asleep. The Somnox Sleep Robot helps you to fall asleep faster, sleep longer and wake up more refreshed.
Guest blog written by DreaMe:
DreaME is the first Machine Learning-Powered, personalized dream interpretation app, designed to help users dream better, sleep better, and be better.
Exercising daily is an important part of any wellness routine; it can help you reduce stress and anxiety, lose weight, and boost your self-esteem, as well as keep your heart healthy. For millions of Americans, finding a good workout routine is a big part of their lifestyle and a very personal decision, especially since the way we exercise affects so many other parts of our daily lives. From helping you get good sleep to boosting your short-term memory, exercise touches just about everything you do in a positive way.
Fortunately, there are many things you can do to ensure that your exercise routine works for you. Finding the right workout is essential, as they aren’t all created equal. Seniors, individuals with disabilities, and those who are recovering from an injury or illness typically go for something that’s low-impact and won’t affect mobility; others enjoy more of a challenge.
Keep reading to learn more about how your exercise routine can benefit you.
Burning Calories by Sleeping More
When you get good sleep, you feel better all around. Quality rest can help you be more productive, boost your mood and self-confidence, and keep you from getting stressed. To get good sleep, however, you have to create the right surroundings. Sleeping in a dark room with a good pillow and comfortable bedding is a step in the right direction, as they make it much easier to relax. Create the perfect space to wind down in after a long day so you can get solid sleep.
Keep Your Heart Healthy
Heart health is extremely important, as your heart is the hub of your body’s organs. Exercising daily can help keep your blood flowing and can prevent heart disease and high blood pressure, two ailments that affect millions of people each year, as well as help lower the risk of a stroke and diabetes. When choosing a workout, look for something that gets your heart rate up in a way that is fun and comfortable for you, such as running or swimming.
Boost Your Mood by Getting Social
Did you know your daily workout routine can help you stay social, which can benefit your mental health as you get older? Exercising in a group or with a friend can boost your mood and can help you stay motivated to stick with your workout. Whether you want to join a running group, start a gardening club, or just go for a long walk with your neighbor, there are many ways you can keep your body and your social life active.
Boost Your Memory
Because exercising gets your blood pumping and opens up your blood vessels, it sends vital oxygen to your brain and helps boost the production of hormones that create brain cells. This can aid in preventing inflammation and memory loss, which is especially important for older adults, but it can benefit people of any age.
Feel Good About Yourself
Working out can help elevate your self-esteem and confidence because you’re actively working on making your body stronger and healthier. When you find yourself feeling low, make an effort to fit in a run, a game of basketball, or a swim. The more active you are, the better you’ll feel.
Exercise can have multiple benefits for people of any age, but it’s important to find the right workout for your needs. Whether you want to get to a healthy weight, learn how to get better sleep, or reduce stress, there’s an exercise routine with your name on it, and a good plan will help you stay motivated for the long term.
How The Somnox Sleep Robot can help you get more fit
For people that suffer from stress and anxiety it’s harder to put yourself out there to work out. This may create a negative spiral where a possible outcome is that you will sleep worse than you used to. The Somnox Sleep Robot helps you to fall asleep faster, sleep longer and wake up more refreshed. This could kick in that positive spiral upward and thus make you more confident to work out again and get fit.
Sleep trackers are being talked about a lot currently. It’s a time when Apple fully invests in a product like the Apple Watch, “to help you stay even more active, healthy, and connected”. Smartwatches not only count your activity in steps anymore, but also measure how inactive you are during one third of the day: while you’re sleeping.
How do sleep trackers work? And do they improve your sleep in any way? Read further to find out.
What Do Sleep Trackers Measure?
There are a lot of sleep trackers available on the market today. They range from non-wearable sleep trackers that sit next to your bed or even under your bed to wearable sleep trackers, that you’re attaching to your wrist. There are also sleep tracking apps available on iOS and Android, although these are not as advanced as the standalone sleep trackers that you can find on the market.
Every product has its own unique features, but most common qualities are:
– Sleep Quality. Sleep trackers can measure when your sleep is disrupted and thus showing you the time ranges when you’ve been awake subconsciously.
– Sleep Time. By measuring when you’re not moving in bed, the sleep trackers can reverse engineer when you were not asleep.
– Sleep Stages. There are several sleep trackers that measure the sleep cycles that you are finding yourself in. If the sleep tracker notices you are in your light sleep cycle, it knows it is a good time to let the alarm clock go off.
– Sleep Environment. Some trackers measure the environment that you’re sleeping in, like the warmth or lightness in your room.
– Sleep Coaching. A lot of sleep trackers have an integrated coaching feature, where they will ask you questions about your lifestyle choices through their accompanied applications on smartphones.
How Useful Are Sleep Trackers For Improving Your Sleep?
Sleep trackers can be very helpful for observing different patterns that are occurring in your night’s rest. You see a certain pattern that your night’s rest is worse when you work out after 9PM, or that you are able to feel more awake if you are waking up half an hour earlier, because you will be in another sleep cycle.
Personally, I don’t drink any coffee anymore after 11AM and find myself being able to go to bed at a much earlier state and wake up more energized the morning after.
The sleep tracking devices are very useful for looking back at your own sleep and analyze on which points you can test out different things and improve upon. In this way the sleep tracker can have an impact in how you will be looking to your bedtime.
However, sleep trackers do not actively improve your sleep. The thing is, by measuring how much time you’ve spent in bed, you’re in no way actively improving the rate in which you fall asleep or improving your sleep quality directly.
How Sleep Technology Can Actively Improve Your Sleep
With sleep technology such as the Somnox Sleep Robot, we have done everything to deliver a user experience that’s never been seen before. We wanted to make it as easy as possible to actively improve your sleep by using soft robotics.
By hugging the Sleep Robot at night, you will feel it breathe. By snuggling up to the robot, you will automatically adjust your own breathing rhythm accordingly. Apart from breathing with you, the Sleep Robot also uses smart audio to enhance your sleep. Listen to soothing sounds such as meditative music, ambient sounds and cognitive shuffling. They’ll turn off as soon as you fall asleep. By setting up your personal preferences during the day, ensures a tailored approach to improve the user’s sleep during the night. Users can also upload their own audio files to the app.
Being huggable and soft, the robot makes the user calmly doze off again. With the use of software updates, the robot continually improves, getting new benefits and thus becoming smarter over time.