Men, Women, and Sleep

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If you’re tossing and turning at night, you’re not alone. Women report more insomnia and sleep disturbances than men. In the  2007 Sleep In America Poll from the National Sleep Foundation , half of women reported waking up unrefreshed. In fact, one-third said they slept well only a few nights a month.

But that doesn’t mean that women have to suffer. A good night’s rest is within your grasp.

Wind Down.

People do all kinds of things before turning in for the night, and what they do can have an effect on sleep. In the hour before bed, 87% of women say they watch TV at least a few nights a week in the hour prior to bed. Finishing chores (60%), reading (51%), and taking a hot bath or shower (49%) are other popular routines.

Using a computer or other electronic device before bed can make it hard to fall asleep; the same goes for watching TV. Few women report drinking alcohol before bed, which is good – that can result in wakefulness later in the night.

We’d certainly recommend taking time for yourself – it’s important to unwind from the day and let the body prepare for sleep. But about an hour before it’s time to go to bed, turn off the electronics, and ideally stow them in another room. The light emitted from electronic devices can affect your ability to get a good night’s rest. Reading (in a real book or magazine) is a healthier alternative!

Warm water, cool room.

The warm bath or shower; it helps get your body ready to sleep by raising your body temperature a bit. People begin to feel sleepy when their body temperature drops. Heading into a cooler bedroom provides a temperature contrast that will help you make the transition to sleep. (It probably helps that you already feel relaxed and are ready for the next step.)

How cool should the bedroom be? Choose a temperature between 60 and 67 degrees, especially the week or two before your period. If you’re menopausal, a cool sleeping environment can also help get you through night sweats

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