It’s no surprise that women are masters at multitasking, especially when it comes to balancing their family’s needs with their own careers and personal ambitions. And, while many women make it look easy to hammer through a truck load of work projects each day, and, then turn around and manage a checklist of responsibilities when they finally get home, the reality is that they often suffer for it — especially when it comes to missing out on a good night’s sleep.
Studies show that working women report having higher stress levels than men (1), which is one of the leading enemies to quality and more restful sleep. Moreover, some of the stress factors for women not only come from additional workplace pressure, but also the challenge of working ‘the second shift,’ a term that describes the amount of time that women spend each day doing unpaid work, such as managing household tasks, and caring for kids and other family members. In the US alone, women spend more than 4 hours every day doing unpaid work responsibilities (2), even after finishing the work they are paid to do on their jobs each day.
Now, you would think the exhaustion from keeping up with all these tasks would have women falling asleep deeply every night, however, the increased stress and anxiety felt by women often contribute to insomnia and poor sleeping patterns. Womens’ brains tend to keep thinking even at bedtime, which makes it a lot harder for them to slow down and fall asleep. Furthermore, women actually need almost 20 minutes moresleep than men according to sleep neuroscientist Dr. Jim Horne(3), yet the majority of them aren’t getting nearly the recommended amount.
Most women sleep only about 6 and a half hours each night – far below the recommended time of between 7 and 9 hours daily – and nearly two-thirds of women also report insomnia at least a few nights a week (4). The science is clear though; not getting enough sleep has a massive negative impact on people, both physically and psychologically. Poor sleep can cause many issues, including memory loss, the inability to focus, mood changes, weight gain and a weakened immune system. It can also increase the risk for heart disease, diabetes, and high blood pressure.
But the good news is, help is available, especially since we can all agree that women deserve better rest. So below are some tips that can help all women sleep longer and enjoy a deeper more restful night-time experience. After all, they certainly deserve it
- Take time to wind down at least 1 hour before bedtime. This will help to clear one’s head and free it from the stress that’s been assaulting your brain all day. A short period of deep breathing, relaxing music, and visualization of great sleep can help you get to the right state of mind for deep sleep.
- Upgrade your mattress. An old or inadequate mattress can cause aching, soreness and restlessness. So be sure to upgrade your mattress so that it provides enough comfort to fall asleep faster and stay asleep longer. The right mattress can mitigate tossing and turning while delivering uninterrupted sleep patterns throughout the night.
- Exercise daily. This is crucial for overall health, especially for women. Exercising is great way to combat stress and the energy exerted will help you to better achieve deep, restorative sleep.
- Watch your diet. What we consume can have a huge impact on how we sleep. Caffeine can negatively impact sleep even 10 to 12 hours after it’s ingested. A lean, healthy diet that limits caffeine and alcohol can help you fall asleep and stay asleep better.
- Avoid light before bedtime. While many people like to watch TV or use an e-reader or other mobile device as a way to relax before sleeping, the light from these devices is disruptive to natural circadian rhythm. Avoiding them is a great way to ensure better sleep.
- Create the best sleep environment possible. Your bedroom should have condition conducive to sleeping well, including no noise, an optimal temperature, and a comfortable bed.
- Understand great sleep is a science. Innovations in sleep science are everywhere, including mattress features such as zoning technology, cooling features, enhanced materials for better sleep. Many of the contributors to poor sleep can be mitigated or eliminated through these types of technology, and will lead to greater, more peaceful rest.
While poor sleep can harm any individual, the chronic issue of inadequate sleep for our nation’s hard-working women can be effectively addressed by following these simple tips. Afterall better sleep will help them achieve even greater degrees of productivity and even higher levels of success.
1 Batty, D. (2016, December 30). Women suffer much more work stress than men, says psychiatrist. The Guardian.
2 Berman, J. (2018, April 15). Women’s unpaid work is the backbone of the American economy. The Wall Street Journal.
3 National Sleep Foundation. (n.d.). Do women need more sleep than men?
4 National Sleep Foundation. (n.d.). Women and sleep.