Wanted: Good Night’s Sleep

Thursday, November 18th 1999, 12:00 am

By: News On 6

Getting the right amount of sleep at night is vital for people who want good quality of life during the day. Conditions unique to women, like menstrual cycle, pregnancy and menopause, can affect how well a woman sleeps. Lifestyle habits are also factors. A 1998 poll by the National Sleep Foundation found:

  • 50 per cent of menstruating women reported bloating disturbed their sleep.

  • 16 per cent of women polled get less than six hours of sleep a night.

  • Women with pre-menstrual syndrome (PMS) experience deep sleep about five per cent of the nighttime compared to 15 to 20 per cent for health sleepers.

  • 78 per cent of women reported more disturbed sleep during pregnancy than at other times.

  • 35 to 45 per cent of menopausal women suffer from sleep problems usually related to hot flashes.

  • Research shows women are 50 per cent more likely than men to use sleeping pills. Many doctors say sleeping pills should only be a temporary solution. They say oral contraceptives can smooth out the hormonal swings associated with PMS. Plus, estrogen therapy can tame hot flashes during menopause.

    Beating the Insomnia Blues

    1. Avoid caffeine to stay awake. It gives you false energy.
    2. Avoid alcohol to go to sleep. It makes you feel restless.
    3. If you can’t go to sleep right away, don’t go to bed. Trying to force sleep causes stress.
    4. Relax before bedtime. A warm bath an hour before turning in can lead to extra 15 minutes of deep sleep.
    5. Try aromatherapy. Researchers have found that the smell of lavender can be as effective as a sleeping pill.

    For more information, contact:

    Kathryn Lee, R.N., Ph.D.
    University of California at San Francisco
    School of Nursing
    Box 0606
    Room N411-Y
    San Francisco, CA 94143-0606
    (415) 476-4442
    E-mail: kathy.lee@nursing.ucsf.edu


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