Today I’m going to tell you a bit about the importance of sleep, and how damaging it can be to your long term health if you are not getting enough, particularly for women who, on average, just aren’t getting the right amount of sleep each night.
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Sleep is SO Important
After breathing and water, sleep is the most important biological activity needed for survival. Sleep is essential for health, productivity and takes up more time than any other single activity. It can be too easy to get into a sleep debt cycle: sleeping a little less than you should to ‘save time’ on a long term basis. This will lead to lots of problems with energy and other chronic health issues with mood, memory, focus, attention and even weight!
In a recent medical study on women’s sleep, almost HALF of the healthy women in the study had sleep dysfunction which affected everything from their anxiety levels, their mood, if they were slim vs. overweight and their blood pressures!
Women Sleep More Hours Than Men
Research on sleep show that, on average, women sleep more hours than men do.
However, studies show that despite having longer sleep times than men, women have a poorer quality of sleep and wake up more during the night. This lower sleep quality is a major factor in why women are likely to wake up feeling unrefreshed, suffer with daytime tiredness and are prone to many health issues related to poor sleep. Check out the research here.
Women’s sleep is also impacted by our biology, our menstrual cycles and when we start to approach menopause due to hormonal change. If you are a woman who struggles with hormonal imbalances, fibromyalgia or chronic fatigue, you are more likely to have problems with getting quality sleep in the first part of the night, e.g. up until 3 am, and more likely to have fragmentation of your sleep, affecting your mood and energy during the days. Check out the research here.
Making Small Changes Makes A Difference
The good news is that making small consistent changes to your daily routine starting TODAY can have a huge impact on your sleep, your mood, your energy and your health. Getting good quality sleep is as important as not smoking, exercising and not eating fast food every day!
In fact, in the research, women are more likely to be more consistent – meaning successful – in implementing strategies to get more sleep than men, such as being able to stick to early bedtimes and scheduling in a nap during the day to help catch up.
The Sleep Debt Secret
Sleep debt is a really nasty problem. The big secret that most doctors don’t emphasize is that sleep debt is not something that you can ‘work off’ over the weekend by sleeping in or ‘catching up’ on the sleep you have lost. Unfortunately sleeping-in late actually disrupts you circadian rhythms more AND the after-midnight sleep is not the deep restorative sleep you really need to get when you have sleep debt.
The only way to get rid of sleep debt is to start sleeping more hours EVERY or MOST nights and slowly shifting your bedtime forward so you are in rhythm with natural light and dark cycles which is critical to good sleep.
How To Calculate Your Sleep Debt Number
Most people actually need at least 8 hours of restorative sleep per night and many sleep experts are now saying it’s more like 9! To get the number of hours you are in debt, take the average number of hours you sleep per night from the last year and subtract it from 9. So, say you sleep 6 hours average, 9 minus 6 equals 3 hours. 3 hours times 365 days is over a 1000 hrs–to be exact that is 1095 hrs of sleep debt!! That’s just for one year… your brain remembers far longer times for sleep debt that only a year!
First Step To Better Sleep
So the first step to starting to sleep better is making TIME for sleep a priority! Devoting at least 9 hours to time in bed is essential.
If you have 1000 or more hours of sleep debt and you feel like you have tried every sleep tip already but you are not succeeding to get to sleep and stay asleep, and you need a system that will actually work – I’ve created a step by step sleep program to help you start getting your sleep back on track, just click here .
YOU CAN overcome the health issues that are holding you back from the freedom of feeling amazing every day.