Sleep is an important part of good health, as important as a good diet and exercise. We know that a good night’s sleep can do wonders – right from keeping energy levels high to enhancing general mood through the day. But for women, sleep does a lot more than just that. According to a recent study, women need better sleep because apart from cardiovascular health, it can affect their blood pressure too.
According to this study conducted by the Columbia University Irving Medical Center, even mild sleep problems, such as having trouble falling asleep, can raise blood pressure in women. Nearly one-third of adults don’t get enough sleep. For women, the problem may be even bigger. Studies suggested that women are at greater risk for sleep problems, with some researchers reporting that chronic insomnia may be twice as common in women as in men.
“That’s concerning since studies have shown that sleep deprivation and milder sleep problems may have a disproportionate effect on cardiovascular health in women,” said Brooke Aggarwal, the lead author of the study.
Results of the study
Women who had mild sleep problems – including those who slept for seven to nine hours a night, as measured by a wristwatch-like device – were significantly more likely to have elevated blood pressure. Some women allowed the researchers to extract a few endothelial cells from inside an arm vein to look for a pro-inflammatory protein that is implicated in the development of cardiovascular disease. The researchers, led by Sanja Jelic, the senior author of the study, found an association between endothelial inflammation and mild sleep disturbances.
More reasons why women need better sleep
1) Busier schedules: Women have responsibilities at home and at work. They are the primary caregivers if children are involved. The mental and physical load of managing a household and a career is immense.
2) Hormonal changes: Women go through hormonal changes throughout the different stages of their life. This tends to affect their mood and sleep can help deal with it in a better manner.
According to Dr Rahul Modi, sleep specialist and ENT, Dr LH Hiranandani Hospital, if you follow the below steps carefully, you will be able to get over your insomnia.
Regular bed time is important: Have the same sleeping and waking up time every night, even on weekends.
Regular sleeping place: Designate a room only for sleeping. The bedroom and the bed should be only for sleeping, one should not answer emails or watch movies, listen to music or read on the bed. A lot of people do their work in the bedroom on the bed; this habit should be discouraged.
Avoid caffeinated drinks like tea, coffee, red bull and cola drinks at least 6 hours prior to bed time.
Make sure that you are tired enough before hitting the bed. Avoid short naps leading up to bedtime. If you are napping, make sure it is before 3 pm.