By Aviva PatzThere's an optimal time for every health move, from eating breakfast and taking your allergy meds to quitting smoking and even having sex. Here's how to tune into those magic hours to boost your everyday well-being - and your long-term health.
There's never a bad time to do something healthy, right? Not so fast. When it comes to maximizing your health, timing is everything. That's because we're hardwired to follow a "body clock," an internal timer that tells the body whether to sleep...
"Where you are in your lifestyle has an affect on how much sleep you get," says Mark Rosekind, PhD, a board member of the National Sleep Foundation (NSF).
Throw biology into the mix -- like a woman's menstrual cycle -- and insomnia becomes even more common. Sleep problems can make it even harder to get the recommended 7.5 to 8 hours of shut-eye necessary to perform your best.
But you don't need to lose sleep over the fact that you're losing sleep! To understand insomnia, learn what's keeping you up at night. According to experts from the National Sleep Foundation, here are the most common reasons why you may be burning the candle at both ends.
Insomnia and Your Lifestyle
According to a "Sleep in America" poll released by the NSF in March 2007, if you're a single working woman you probably spend the least amount of time in bed -- sometimes fewer than six hours a night. And if you're like many women in the survey, you probably also wake up feeling tired at least a few days of every week.
One of the primary reasons you aren't sleeping? It could be something as simple as spending a bit too much time socializing with friends instead of hitting the sheets earlier in the evening. When this is the case, the solution involves a little self-discipline -- force yourself to hit the hay earlier a few nights a week, and you're likely to feel better overall, says Rosekind.
Stay-at-moms aren't much better off, however. The NSF survey found that three-quarters of the women in this category experience symptoms of insomnia. What's keeping moms up at night? It could be the kids -- worse, the dog -- bunking in with you. Or maybe it's a lack of quiet leisure activities to help you unwind at the end of the day. If your evening is spent primarily on chores or kids' activities, that could lead to sleep problems.