Sleep for Women
We are all aware of the importance of sleep in our lives. Deep, restful sleep is essential to our continued good health and wellbeing. Depending on the age and stage of our lives, our sleep needs vary greatly. Babies, toddlers and teens require more sleep for their rapidly developing bodies than older adults. For women, other factors also influence their sleep needs and their ability to achieve consistent, high quality sleep. Four key impacts on a woman’s sleep are their menstrual cycle, pregnancy, motherhood and menopause.
Sleep and Menstruation
Most women report changes to their sleep cycle across their menstrual cycle, with many issues linked with Premenstrual Syndrome (PMS). They find PMS leads to restless, interrupted sleep and many experience increased daytime tiredness. Keeping a diary over a minimum 3 month period can help to track sleep, identify patterns and provide a useful tool linking poor sleep to PMS.
Sleep and Pregnancy
Good sleep is essential for women nurturing a growing baby. Sleep patterns change - frequent waking and light sleep are familiar complaints. Expectant mothers need to rest often or nap during the day to ensure they receive adequate sleep needed for their developing child. While some snoring, breathing pauses and leg movement is common during pregnancy, women should check with their doctor if they are concerned about any changes to their sleep habits.
Sleep and a newborn
Babies take at least three months to develop their day/night sleep cycle. Until they learn to discriminate and begin to sleep for longer stretches at night, it is important for mums to plan for erratic sleep patterns. Experts recommend that new mothers recruit a support team, learn to let a few things go and where possible sleep when their baby sleeps.
Sleep and menopause
Hormonal changes associated with menopause impact the sleep of many older women. These changes in hormone levels affect women both day and night, causing hot flushes, cold sweats and night sweats. Their occurrence at night sees an increased incidence of night time wakefulness with many sufferers struggling to return to sleep.
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