A large proportion of American women lack a good night's sleep so often that they are affected "in every aspect of their time pressed lives, leaving them later for work, stressed out, too tired for sex and little time for their friends", according to a new poll released yesterday by the National Sleep Foundation (NSF).
The poll shows only 60% of women report they have a good night's sleep a few times a week or less and 67% have sleep problems. In addition, 43% say daytime sleepiness interferes with their daily activities.
The NSF's 2007 version of Sleep in America poll was meant to examine the sleep patterns of adult women ages 18 to 64. The 2005 version has already found that women are more likely to have sleep problems than men.
The new poll found that women of all ages are experiencing sleep problems, which are affected by age and lifestyles. For instance, those who work are less likely to experience sleep problems such as insomnia compared to those who are stay at home mothers, 70% versus 74%.
Lack of sleep is so common that 80% of women accept it and sleepiness during the day as part of their life. But about 65% are likely to use caffeinated beverages to alleviate sleepiness, with 37% of all women drinking caffeinated beverages three or more times a day.
And, in spite of being frequently tired because of lack of sleep, women are not going to bed earlier. In the hour before going to bed, 87% say they spend time watching TV, 60% on household chores left for the day, 37% with children, 36% with other family, 36% on the Internet and 21% on work.
Poor sleep is associated with bad mood. 80% women say they worry about things or are stressed out or anxious. It is not clear whether the bad mood causes poor sleep of vice versus. But it is believed that "the relationship between sleep and mood is bidirectional". 55% say they are unhappy, sad or depressed in the past month and 36% feel hopeless about the future.
"Women of all ages are burning the candle at both ends and as a result they are sleepless and stressed out," said Richard L. Gelula, NSF's chief executive officer. "Poor sleep impacts every aspect of a woman's life, as well as her health. This year, we are asking women to take the steps necessary to make healthy sleep a higher priority in their lives and in the lives of their families."
Lack of good sleep affects women's quality of life. When they are pressed for time, many women sacrifice sleep (52%) and exercise (48%), two of three basic healthy lifestyle elements with the third element a healthy diet. 39% would reduce time with friends and family, 37% would stop eating healthy and one third would avoid sex with their partners when they run out of time or are sleepy during the day.
A scientist with foodconsumer.org suggested that most women do not have a good night's sleep because of their stress from work and social life and their poor dietary practice. They should learn how to deal with stress and how to eat a good diet so that they may have a good habit. Before going to bad, he said one must not eat anything with high calories or something hard to digest. For the stay-the-home mothers, outdoor activity is needed to have a good sleep. Being physically tired and exposure to sunshine can help get a good night's sleep.
He said that sleep is an extremely biological process as the body is doing some maintenance work during one's sleep.