More than half of American women do not get a good night sleep, which hurts their sex lives, ability to drive, work outs, and other daily activities.
(iVillage Total Health) - Sleep-deprived, drowsy and relying on caffeine to stay alert. Is that you or someone you know? According to a new poll released today by the National Sleep Foundation (NSF), it's the day-to-day reality for the majority of American women.
Six out of 10 adult women in America say they do not get a good night's sleep a few nights a week and more than two-thirds say they frequently have sleep problems during the night, according to the Sleep in America poll. The annual survey is conducted each year to gauge the nation's sleep patterns. After the 2005 poll indicated that women are more likely than men to experience sleep problems, the sleep foundation decided to focus the 2007 survey on adult women, their sleep disorders and the impact lack of sleep has on their daily lives.
Pollsters conducted telephone interviews with 1,003 participants between September 12 and October 28, 2006. Participants were 18 to 64 years old and were asked to reveal their usual bedtime and wake-up times to determine their average number of hours in bed.
The survey divided women respondents into categories first based on their lifestyle (such as single and working, stay-at-home moms, part-time working women and empty nesters) and by their biological status in life (for example, menstruating, pregnant or postmenopausal). Perimenopausal women spend the least amount of time in bed—an average of only 7 hours 12 minutes on weeknights—and postmenopausal women had the highest incidence of sleep disorders such as snoring, sleep apnea and restless leg syndrome. Eight out of 10 pregnant women in the survey reported symptoms of insomnia and 40 percent indicated some type of sleeping disorder.
Working single women reported spending the least amount of time in bed—less than six hours a night. More than half said they often wake up feeling unrefreshed, but seven out of 10 of them don't do anything about their sleepiness. Instead, they said they accept it and plow ahead through the day. Also, 47 percent said they cope with the help of caffeine, consuming an average of 3.1 cups or cans of caffeinated beverages a day.
Nearly three-fourths of stay-at-home moms say they experience insomnia and more than half wake up in the middle of the night or rise the next day feeling groggy. These moms are more likely to sleep with an infant or child—a factor that likely contributes to their sleep deprivation.
Lack of sleep interferes with many aspects of women's daily lives. Busy working mothers reported being too tired to have sex with their partners, driving while drowsy and putting healthy activities such as exercise last on their list of priorities.
The poll also found that poor sleep and poor mood, depression and anxiety are all linked. Women who are depressed and anxious are more likely to have sleep disorders and those with sleep disorders are more likely to have depression and anxiety. Fifty-five percent of the women said they felt unhappy, sad or depressed in the past month and more than a third said they had recently felt hopeless about the future.
"Women of all ages are burning the candles at both ends and as a result they are sleepless and stressed out," NSF executive director Richard L. Gelula, said in a press release. He added: "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."
Poor health was also associated with sleep deprivation. Women who said they were in fair or poor health were more likely than women who reported excellent or very good health to have sleep disturbances at least a few nights a week. They were also more likely to be told by a physician that they have a sleep disorder and to use sleep aids to help them doze off and stay asleep.
Obese women were more likely than their thinner counterparts to snore at least a few nights a week, use prescription sleep aids a few nights a week and to experience daytime sleepiness at least a few days a week.
"Adopting healthy behaviors such as eating nutritious foods, being physically active, watching your weight, and getting enough sleep are important steps toward living a healthy life," Janet Collins, Ph. D., said in a press release. Collins is director the National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion.
The NSF offers the following tips for getting a good night's sleep: