Ten years ago if I didn’t get my eight hours of beauty sleep I was a miserable so-and-so. Sorry, I should clarify here that I mean eight hours of undisrupted sleep; just me sleeping for eight hours non-stop and waking up to an alarm of my choice or my body’s natural clock…bliss.
And then along came my son. It felt like I had been hit by a huge truck – again and again, night after night. And nothing really prepared me for that.
My sleep routine took a huge nose-dive from a blissful 8 hours a night to a disrupted 3-4 hours at most. Where I was once cheery and full of energy, I rapidly became a walking, talking zombie, and dare I say it, a bit scummy.
I aged at least ten years in 6 months; dark circles appeared under my eyes and one day I woke up with crows feet and more than 30 grey hairs – yes, I counted them!
I had also given up on makeup, which made matters worse. Makeup? It’s a luxury to even go for a wee (let alone the other toilet function), when you’ve got a baby.
Fast forward ten years and I’m still not getting that 8 hours sleep. It’s more like 6.5 or at the very best 7, but if I do get 7 hours undisrupted rest, it’s a bonus – and I can live with that.
So I wasn’t surprised when I read a report that found almost half of women across the UK are not getting enough sleep and don’t feel well-rested when they wake up.
According to the findings from the survey of over 4,100 UK adults, supported by the Sleep Apnoea Trust Association (SATA) and conducted by YouGov for ResMed Ltd, women are more likely than men to:
- Have trouble sleeping (46% versus 36%)
- Wake up during the night and not be able to get back to sleep (36% versus 23%)
- Become irritable during the day because of their sleep problems (60% versus 47%*)
- Feel less confidence in their appearance as a result of a bad night’s sleep (33% versus 20%*)
The results also revealed that despite the extent of their sleep problems, only a minority of women visit their GP about sleep issues such as difficulty sleeping (25%) and snoring (6%).
However, the worrying factor is that these problems might be symptoms of a sleep disorder called sleep apnoea and, if left untreated, could lead to other more serious health problems such as stroke and cardiovascular disease. Not good news.
Professor John Stradling, a sleep expert from Oxford University says, “Often women think that feeling exhausted is just part of modern life when in fact it could be something more serious.
Many are not aware that they may have sleep apnoea meaning that they are missing out on the medical advice or treatment that they need. Remaining untreated leaves women at risk of reduced quality of life and serious health conditions, so it is important that they speak to their GP about any sleep problems that they have – the sooner their sleep issues are addressed by a sleep expert, the better.”
Unfortunately, the impact of sleep deprivation on appearance is much more prominent in women than men, with women admitting that sleeping problems have caused them to put on weight (31%) and made their skin look less healthy (33%). Yep – I can relate to that…
Bill Johnston, Chairman of the Sleep Apnoea Trust Association says, “The overall lack of awareness around sleep apnoea symptoms and its impact on a person’s health may mean that many are suffering in silence. Women also need to help their doctor understand how they sleep to avoid misdiagnosis.
Discussing their sleep quality, and any difficulties sleeping (such as insomnia, frequent awakenings, snoring and sleepiness or tiredness during the day), will really help.”
The two reasons why I continue to suffer from a disruptive night’s sleep are called Luis and Nadja. And would you believe – at ten and eight years old, they STILL wake up during the night.
Then again, it’s not every night, so I’m gradually emerging from the zombie zone….
Top 50 things most likely to send you to sleep
(from a recent survey of 2,000 adults from Slumberdown)
- A dark room
- A freshly made bed
- Luxury bedding
- Reading a book
- A large meal
- A cuddle
- A hot bath
- A fleecy blanket
- A hot water bottle
- The sound of a TV show in the background
- The sound of rain
- Your hair/arm/back being stroked
- Watching a long film
- A warm office
- Sitting on a train
- Sitting in a car
- Smell of lavender
- Work meetings
- A ticking clock
- A cat purring
- Political party broadcasts
- Classic music
- Powerpoint presentations
- Reality TV
- A burning candle
- Camomile tea
- Herbal tea
- A Star Wars film
- Formula One
- College or university lectures
- An episode of Downton Abbey
- Match of the Day
- Question Time
- A long game of Monopoly
- The shipping forecast on Radio 4
- Shopping channels
- The Antiques Roadshow
- A Lord of the Rings film
- Revising for an exam
- Prime Minister’s Questions
- Horse racing on the TV
- Final Score/Soccer Saturday (Football results programmes)
- Whale music
- Reading with a child/listening to a child read
- Writing an essay
Slumberdown’s Sleepwell range collection is available to buy at Asda, Morrisons and Matalan for more information visit: Slumberdown.co.uk/Sleepwell
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