Yet for some reason, women suffer more than men with sleep problems. Whether it’s periods, pregnancy or menopause, our body temperatures are affected by our changing hormone balances, which can create all sorts of challenges for us when it comes to getting a good night’s sleep.
These sleeping problems can affect your mental health, physical performance and even how your brain works.
Luckily, there are ways we tackle these problems head-on. Here are five easy but effective ways that you can ensure a better night’s sleep and wake up feeling refreshed; read on to find out how to perfect your bedtime routine.
Sort out your sleeping pattern
One of the best ways to ensure that you get a good night’s sleep each night is to get your body and your mind into good bedtime habits.
This means going to sleep at the same time each night, and waking up at the same time each morning, regardless of whether it’s the weekend or you’ve got social commitments or work deadlines to meet.
Set your alarm so that you fit in those eight hours of sleep a night that your body needs.
By getting into a regular bedtime routine, you can help your body to develop a healthier sleeping pattern — which means you’ll feel tired at the right times (when you want to go to bed) and wake up feeling more refreshed in the morning. This will also help with your mental wellbeing too because you’ll feel less stressed about your lack of sleep or routine.
Keep your bedroom nice and cool
Whether you’re on your period, having menopausal hot flashes or simply have a super hot natural body temperature, we all get hot and bothered sometimes when we’re trying to sleep. This is normally down to natural changes in our female hormone levels, which causes our body temperature to fluctuate.
Keeping your bedroom cool — especially in the summer — will help you to feel more comfortable, fall asleep quicker, and feel more refreshed when you wake up.
There are a few ways you can do this, such as cracking a window open at night (if it’s safe for you to do so), turning on your AC, or just investing in a good old-fashioned fan.
Buying lighter, more breathable bedding will also help your body to regulate its temperature better and have a cool night’s sleep. Put to rest your period worries
Put to rest your period worries
Struggling to sleep when you’re on your period is a common occurrence: bad cramps, heavy flows and leaking worries can all equal a restless night and feelings of discomfort.
Thankfully, there are a few effective changes you can make to handle all of the nighttime period problems that life throws at you.
For example, a hot water bottle is one of the best ways to alleviate painful period cramps; the heat helps to relax your uterine muscles and increase blood flow around your body, which stops your muscles from cramping as much.
And if you’re worried about leaking in the night, you can try a few things. This helpful blog post on period leaks suggests doubling up on protection by combining your period product of choice (be it tampon, pad or menstrual cup) with leakproof period underwear to prevent troublesome stains and leak-related stress.
Going fetal is also great for both leaking and period pains. This sleeping position eases pressure and tension in your abdominal muscles which reduces cramps, and pressing your legs together helps to slow your flow and avoid leaks. Result.
Add some gentle yoga into your bedtime routine
If you’re struggling with your bedtime routine, then adding some gentle yoga into your day just before bed could really help.
Although some types of yoga and certain postures can be too energetic and vigorous to do just before bedtime, practicing some gentle yoga can help to relax your body and mind to prep you for a good night’s sleep.
If you’re suffering from period cramps, feeling bloated, or simply sore, yoga will help by gently increasing blood circulation around your body and easing tension. Check out this blog post for a good bedtime yoga sequence.
Swap your phone for a book
It’s probably advice you’ve read or heard before, but we really mean it this time: put your phone down before bedtime.
We know it’s tempting to have one last scroll through your social media feeds as you get ready for bed, but this isn’t doing your brain any good.
In fact, research shows that the blue light emitted by phone screens (as well as your TV or computer) overstimulate your brain and suppress the chemicals in it that tell you it’s time to sleep. This means that in an hour’s time, when you’re lying in bed in the dark, your brain is still buzzing and working overtime to process the information you just exposed it to.
So instead of giving your brain a dose of blue light just before bedtime, put down your phone and pick up a book instead. Some light reading in dimmer light (from your bedside light) won’t release confusing chemicals, and it’ll help you to feel sleepier and nod off faster. And if you’re not a reader, you could also listen to a podcast or some calming music.
These are five ways that women can ensure a better night’s sleep and wake up feeling refreshed. All of these habits are easy to adopt into your lifestyle; all it takes is a few small changes and you’ll see a difference in your quality of sleep in no time at all.