Sleep. Ah, to have a good night’s sleep.
I remember the season of life when I had newborn babies, and how I felt like a zombie during those days and nights of repeated feedings and diaper changes! How I longed for a good night’s sleep! I can remember how good it felt to finally get adequate sleep.
According to statistics, even without newborns, women still aren’t getting enough sleep. The average woman aged 30-60 sleeps an average of 6 hours and 41 minutes during the workweek (source-National Sleep Foundation). Most of us need more, between 7-9 hours of sleep per night.
In fact, the problem of lack of sleep is quite widespread. “Women’s lack of sleep has become a societal crisis bordering on a national health epidemic.” (quoted in “Sleep Deprivation Threatens Women’s Health” by Molly M. Ginty, for Women’s eNews, March 28, 2005). Our society as a whole is moving at a fast, go-getter pace, which is affecting our sleep, which is affecting our health.
Besides feeling groggy and a little grumpy, not getting enough sleep may be linked to more severe conditions, such as a higher risk of heart disease and heart-related problems, and even obesity.
A study published July 1, 2009, in the American journal Sleep, found levels of Interleukin-6 (IL-6), a marker related to coronary heart disease, were significantly lower in women who reported sleeping eight hours as compared with 7 hours. (Read more about the study here). See also “Lack of Sleep ‘Hits Women Harder'”, BBC NEWS, 2009.
Another study tracked 70,000 women over 16 years, and found that women who slept five hours per night were more likely to gain 33 pounds or more and 15% more likely to become obese over the course of the study. (Read about this study here).
Getting enough sleep isn’t always as easy as it sounds. It isn’t always easy or feasible to simply go to bed earlier.
In some cases, other factors are involved in getting enough sleep (insomnia, hormones, depression, stress, illness, other health conditions, etc.).
Yet, minus other health factors, if it is possible to consider altering the schedule to get a bit more sleep, it is worth it. With adequate sleep, not only will we be able to function at a higher level, but will also be healthier.
Question for you: Do you get enough sleep? If not, why? How might you be able to get adequate sleep?