Poll: Most Women Have Sleep Problems
Survey in U.S. Shows Age and Lifestyle Affect Type and Frequency of Sleep Problems
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New Moms Losing Sleep continued...
Women also commonly reported that they didn't wake up feeling refreshed or
that they woke up too early and couldn't go back to sleep.
As women age, they tend to have more sleep problems, the survey shows. While
33% of women aged 18 to 24 had a sleep problem a few nights a week, 48% of
those 55 to 64 did.
Overall, women reported being in bed (though not necessarily sleeping the
entire time) eight hours and 24 minutes on nonworkdays and seven hours and 28
minutes on workdays.
Despite the sleep problems, 80% of women said if they get sleepy during the
day they accept it and forge on. Many said they rely on coffee or other
caffeinated beverages to stay alert.
One bright spot, at least for women with partners: Those who said they sleep
with their significant other -- and not pets or kids -- were less likely than
those who slept with a pet or a child to have insomnia.
Interpretations of the Survey
Lifestyle and other factors definitely have an impact on sleep, not
surprisingly, says Kryger. Family and work demands weren't the only factors
affecting sleep quality.
Mood affects sleep at any age, he adds. Women with mood disorders such as
depression were more likely to have sleep problems.
Women who didn't sleep well, Kryger says, also tended to report they were
too tired to exercise, eat properly, or have sex with their partner.
Advice for the Sleep-Deprived
While some people are naturally better sleepers than others, Kryger says
anyone can improve. First step: "Make sleep a priority."
Good sleepers obey "sleep hygiene" rules, he says. They include
keeping a regular sleep schedule of going to bed and waking about the same time
Other recommendations from the National Sleep Foundation: Have a relaxing
bedtime routine, finish exercising at least three hours before bedtime, and
avoid caffeine and alcohol a few hours before bed.
Though older women surveyed had more sleep problems than younger ones,
advancing age doesn't have to mean an increase in sleep problems, Kryger says.
"People used to believe older people are lousy sleepers." But older
people in relatively good health can be good sleepers, he says, especially if
they practice good sleep hygiene.