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Women Chronically Deprived of Sleep, Study Says

The anonymous saying, “man may work from sun to sun, but woman’s work is never done,” might be truer than ever, according to a study that says a majority of women don’t get enough sleep.

Mothers face special challenges when it comes to getting a decent night’s rest, according to the study by the National Sleep Foundation.<?xml:namespace prefix = o ns = “urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:office” /> 
Work, family pressures, hormonal changes, a propensity for certain illnesses and–in the case of new moms–enhanced sensitivity to sound, can all disrupt a woman’s sleep.

Research shows that the consequences of too-little sleep are far worse than feeling drowsy the next day.  
In fact, health and quality-of-life risks can be significant, Market Wire reported. Risks can include possible increased risk of heart disease and obesity, decreased ability to handle job and household responsibilities and relationship problems.

Three out of four women between the ages of 30 and 60 do not get eight or more hours of sleep, according to the study. In fact, the average woman barely gets six and a half hours of sleep each night during the workweek.  
A Parents magazine survey found that 74 percent of American women working outside the home felt “tired all the time” and that it was a “problem in their lives.”

NSF reported in their “Women & Sleep” report that nearly 40 million women suffer from some type of sleep disorder. Insomnia, sleep apnea, narcolepsy and nocturnal sleep-related eating disorders all fall into this category. 
So what can women do to combat their sleeping problems? The sleep researchers offered these suggestions:

–Exercise regularly, but finish your workout at least three hours before bedtime. Exercise may relieve some PMS symptoms and increase the amount of deep sleep. 
–Avoid sugar and caffeine, as well as salty foods and alcohol before bedtime. Caffeine and alcohol disturb sleep.

–Develop a bedtime routine and keep regular sleep times. Make sure the bedroom is dark, cool, quiet and comfortable. 
A Woman’s Guide to Sleep, by J.A. Walsleben and R. Baron-Faust, also recommends warming up your feet if you are having trouble falling asleep. This could be especially helpful for older women with poor circulation.

Walsleben and Faust also recommend getting up if you can’t fall asleep after a reasonable time. Go into a darkly lit room and read, knit or listen to soothing music. Don’t use that time to catch up on laundry or paperwork.