Insomnia gives rise to multiple health issues which keep getting worse as we age. So it's essential that you get the required amount of sleep everyday.
Editor’s note: This article was originally published on September 30, 2019. It has since been updated.
Whether we are working women or home-makers, our days are hectic and nights, restless. We as women run multiple errands simultaneously, but when it comes to taking care of our own health, we are not the most active ones. Insomnia is defined as difficulty in falling asleep, maintaining sleep, waking up too early and tired, etc. As our sleeping time is when our body replenishes itself, insomnia can give rise to a chain of health issues which worsen with agism.
According to WebMD, Mark Rosekind, Ph.D., a member of the National Sleep Foundation, believes women who are married, have school-going children and are working all day long, normally get less than 6 hours of sleep. But a hectic lifestyle is not the only reason that causes insomnia in women.
There are multiple other reasons that we mostly stay ignorant about. Hormonal imbalances, not exercising, not unwinding, etc., are some reasons that can cause sleep apnea or make falling asleep a difficult task. A disruptive lifestyle can cause short-time (acute) insomnia, however, not changing the current way of life can make it worse, giving rise to long-term (chronic) insomnia that can go on for up to months.
More often than not, we end up taking medications for insomnia without giving much thought about the side-effects that it causes to the body. Therefore, it is important to do little changes in habits and lifestyle which can drastically help in reducing the effects of insomnia. Here are six lesser-known reasons for insomnia and ways to cope up with it.
According to WebMD, menstruation has a direct connection with loss of sleep. When menstruating, we experience fluctuations in our hormonal levels which can cause bodily changes and insomnia is one of them. Any menstrual symptoms such as bloating, mood swings, etc. could result in insomnia. "More than 70% of women complain of sleep problems during menstruation, when hormone levels are at their lowest," says Amy Wolfson, Ph.D., author of The Woman's Book of Sleep: A Complete Resource Guide.
As per a report in pcosaa.org, women with polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) which causes weight gain and hormonal fluctuations are also likely to experience sleep apnea, a medical condition in which shortage or stoppage of breath occurs during sleep.
In this case, getting a doctor's advice and religiously following his/her instructions is non-negotiable.
While many of us know that the meal of the day should be had by early evening, following this schedule becomes difficult when one is working all day. Light snacking before bedtime is OK but heavy meals at that time should be avoided. According to Mayo Clinic, people complain of uneasiness while lying down, heartburn and also acid reflux, which may keep you awake.
Also, caffeine, nicotine and alcohol consumption before bedtime should be cut down as it aggravates the heart rate and increases stress levels.
Studies conducted by the National Sleep Foundation have found out that light exercises such as walking, slow aerobics, etc., have helped people in improving the quality of sleep and getting rid of insomnia. The foundation also notes that insomnia is generally connected with arousal, anxiety, and depression; light exercise has been proven to reduce these symptoms in people experiencing it.
Unruly sleep routines comprise irregularity in sleep schedule, day-time naps, uncomfortable sleeping environment, working on the bed, having electronic gadgets like cell phones, computers, TV, etc., on or around the bed. These factors intervene in your sleep cycle and keep you from having a good quality sleep, reports Mayo Clinic.
It is advisable to keep the bedroom free from electronic devices, screens, artificial lights during bedtime. Also, cutting down day-time naps will help in getting rid of insomnia.
While depression and anxiety are commonly associated with insomnia, according to WebMD, an insomnia-causing neurological condition that majorly goes undiagnosed is Restless Leg Syndrome (RLS). Due to this condition, one feels uncomfortable sensations along their legs and a strong urge to keep them moving in order to get relief. Staying calm and trying to sleep only worsens the uneasiness.
Again, in this case, no delay should be made in seeking a doctor's advise.
The bedroom is a place to relax; your mind and body should be trained accordingly. Therefore, when you bring work or other activities to the bedroom, you violate the intimate surrounding and calm environment of the bedroom that does not allow you to rest as you are stressed even when you are cozy. It is advisable to keep your bedroom neat and tidy, maintain optimal temperature during bedtime, avoid using artificial lights, electronic devices as much as possible. This will help you calm your senses and regulate your sleep cycles.
Please consult your physician if your lack of sleep is becoming difficult to manage.