CRAVING PILLOW TIME
We spend a third of our lives asleep. Most of us wake the next day feeling refreshed and rested. But this is not the case for many individuals who have sleep disorders, poor sleep habits or who do shift work.
A healthy night’s sleep is a fundamental human need. Sleep is important for our physical and emotional health, so we can have the energy we need for ourselves and for those we care about.
Sleep problems can manifest in different ways. Some people have trouble sleeping, while others feel tired, no matter how long they spend in bed.
Research over the past 15 years has resulted in an explosive growth in our understanding of the consequences of poor sleep, which include increased risk of mental and physical illness, car and industrial accidents and productivity loss at work.
HEALTHY SLEEP TIPS FOR WOMEN
Did you know that men and women have different sleep experiences? On the whole, women report more disturbances than men.
A cool bedroom is conducive to better nights rest. Given increases in core body temperature during menstruation, it can be even more important to maintain a cool bedroom environment during menses.
- Try a Warm Bath or Shower Prior to Bed
We begin to feel sleepy when our body temperature drops. You can enhance this effect by taking a warm bath or shower prior to bed. The contrast between the warm bath or shower and your cool bedroom environment will help with sleep onset.
- Avoid Stimulating Substances Close to Bedtime
Caffeine, alcohol, and nicotine can make it difficult to fall or stay asleep. Depending on how your body absorbs caffeine, it can be helpful to avoid caffeine in the late-afternoon/evening.
- Limit Noise in the Bedroom
Noise can disrupt sleep and lead to less refreshing sleep. Limit bedroom noises as much as possible. An alternative to eliminating sounds is to mask them using a “white noise” device such as a sound machine.
- Light Exposure Affects
Exposure to bright light during the daytime helps to regulate our sleep/wake cycle. Nighttime light exposure, however, even to dim light can be disruptive to sleep. Limit outdoor light through the use of black out curtains and avoid the use of electronic devices in the bedroom.
- Engage in Relaxation or Other Coping Exercises
Many women report increased anxious and depressive symptoms prior to and during menstruation. Engaging in activities to alleviate these symptoms will help with sleep. Relaxation, deep breathing, or other ways of coping with stress such as keeping a “worry log” can help to decrease feelings of anxiety and depression that may disrupt sleep.
- Avoid Heavy Meals Before Bed
Indigestion, nausea, and diarrhea can be present during menstruation and can result in disrupted sleep. Eating a light snack and avoiding heavy meals prior to bedtime can help to avoid some of these digestion difficulties.
- Maintain Consistent Bedtimes/Wake times and Routines
Going to bed at a similar time each night allows the body to anticipate and prepare for bedtime. As a result, you will feel sleepier at bedtime and fall asleep quicker. Similarly, engaging in a bedtime routine will help your body (and mind) to relax and transition into sleep. Avoid stimulating activities close to bedtime and engage in calming, relaxing rituals.
- Choose a Comfortable Sleeping Position
Just prior to, and during menstruation, women can experience cramping, nausea, and muscle aches. Selecting a sleeping position to minimize pressure on tender areas, such as sleeping on your side and back, can help to minimize the impact of these symptoms on your sleep.