How much sleep is enough?

sleepAt midlife some women find themselves needing more sleep than ever, while others some suffer from sleeplessness. Peri-menopausal women often need more sleep than men of the same age.

Sleep restores mental and physical energy. During sleep growth hormone is produced in the body which helps to restore and repair all the cells in the body. Insufficient sleep increases the stress hormones in the body, which can throw off our hormonal balance and depress our immune system. It leaves us drowsy, irritable, and fatigued, we find it harder to concentrate, and harder to maintain work motivation.

Sufficient sleep is also linked to being able to maintain a healthy weight – the less sleep people get, the higher risk they have of becoming obese, and of having blood pressure problems. Sleep is critical for body rest, for consolidation of learning and memory, and for metabolising excess stress hormones. A midday nap has been proven to boost productivity – so don’t feel guilty if you need to succumb to a power nap.

Hot flashes and night sweats are common causes of sleep deprivation during menopause. Both alcohol and caffeine consumption are culprits too, apt to wake you in the night and prevent you from falling asleep again.

Regular exercise and relaxation exercise can both assist with getting a good night’s sleep – though not too close to bedtime. Healthy sleep hygiene is called for including a good bedtime ritual, minimising blue-light and stimulating activities close to bed time, laying one’s worries to rest for the night, and never underestimating the importance of a comfortable mattress.

 

Posted on: March 27, 2016