We all know we should get between seven and nine hours of sleep every night, but how many of us actually do? Not nearly enough. According to the National Sleep Foundation, the average woman aged 30-60 only sleeps 6 hours and 40 minutes a night, and as a mom, this sleep is often interrupted. Besides being sleepy and grumpy, the consequences of inadequate sleep are real: poor concentration, poor job performance, and greater risk of accidents.
What’s a tired woman to do? Here are 11 sleep tips for women and moms you can start with.
Daytime Sleep Tips for Women
1.Wake up at the same time every day – Our bodies have a natural sleep rhythm that mimics sunrise and sunset. Waking up and going to bed every day around the same time supports your body’s pattern and makes falling asleep and waking up easier.
2. Get outside and enjoy the sunshine. Not only is the sun great for boosting Vitamin D levels and mood, studies have shown those who get two hours of bright light exposure (sun, sunlamp or natural light) every day increased both the amount and quality of sleep.
3. Exercise regularly – Exercising regularly has been shown to have huge health benefits, including better sleep. In fact, research has shown that daily exercise was more effective at helping people fall asleep consistently than most sleep medications, as long as the exercise wasn’t done right before bedtime.
4. Shorten or skip naps– Are you a napper? Consider shortening naps to 30 minutes or less, or skipping them all together. Longer, or sporadic naps, can disrupt your internal clock, but those who have a regular habit of short naps, don’t seem to have as much of a problem with insomnia.
5. Limit caffeine late in the day – While you may enjoy a nice cup of coffee in the morning, you will want to limit caffeine late in the day. Even women who don’t believe caffeine effects them report better sleep when switching to decaf six – eight hours before bedtime.
Evening Sleep Tips For Women
6. Avoid alcohol and nicotine – both have been shown to negatively impact sleep, so avoiding them, especially before bed, can help reduce sleeplessness.
7. Avoid eating or drinking before bedtime. In addition to skipping evening caffeine, avoid eating or drinking anything within an hour of bedtime. By doing so, you’ll limit your body’s release of hormones, which could keep you up, or the need to go to the bathroom, which disrupts your sleep and may cause you to have difficulty falling back asleep.
8. Turn off electronics in the evening – Bright light during the day is good for you, but light at night, especially blue light from electronics such as cellphones, TV and tablets, can confuse your brain into believing the sun’s still shining. Turn down the lights, and turn devices off at least two hours before bed for a better night’s sleep.
9. Establish a pre-bed routine. A pre-sleep routine can help clear your mind and relax to prepare your brain and body for bed. You may consider a new practice that better supports rest such as meditation, bathing/showering, relaxation exercises, journaling, music or reading.
10. Consider supplements. Some people have found great value in taking supplements that support sleep, such as melatonin, ginkgo biloba, magnesium, Valerian root, L-theanine, and even lavender essential oil. Do some research, and consult your doctor about your specific needs.
11. Make your bedroom a sleep oasis. Do everything you can to make your bedroom an optimal sleep zone: limit light (from both external sources and electronics); set a comfortable temperature, and limit noise. Consider using “white noise” if you need to create some sound, or drown out others. A quality mattress and pillow, and even a pillow between your knees can help ensure a great night’s rest.
So ladies, if you’re in a constant state of tired, it’s time to make some changes! Adopting some of these sleep tips for women can help ensure you’re a well-rested, happier and healthier woman.
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