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10 Reasons Why Women Struggle To Sleep at Night and What You Could Do

We compiled a list of ten factors that could impact your sleep and leave you up counting sheep.

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It's important to consult your doctors about any medical concerns and before making any changes or adding supplements to your health plan.

It's two in the morning, and you haven't caught a moment of rest yet. But this isn't the first time this week you've been up all night. According to a National Sleep Foundation (NSF) Sleep in America poll, more women than men experience symptoms of insomnia multiple nights a week (63 percent vs. 54 percent).

Sleep deprivation could lead to a slew of negative health ramifications, from increased risk of obesity to heart disease. It could even be a risk factor in many accidents. Sleep is foundational for your health and well-being. So, why can't some women seem to sleep well? We compiled a list of 10 factors that could impact your sleep and have you up counting sheep. Once you get to the end of the list, you'll find our recommended solution that could help you get some quality shut-eye.

1. Your Lifestyle

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According to the National Sleep Foundation (NSF) 2007 "Sleep In America® Polls" regarding women and sleep, your lifestyle might have a big impact on your rest.

For example, the demographic group referred to as "Briefcases with Backpacks" primarily consists of full-time working adult women who are married and have children under 18 still living at home. These working women are among the most likely to report spending less than six hours in bed (17 percent, compared to 12 percent overall). They also seem to report symptoms of insomnia the most, waking up and feeling un-refreshed, and being awake a lot through the night, at least a couple of times a week.

It appears that this lack of sleep affects these women's lives, too. They report that their sleep problems interfere with their relationship with their spouse (16 percent), their job performance (14 percent), and/or carrying out household duties (14 percent).

Alternatively, the "Single Working Women" demographic is one of the most likely segments to have been told by a doctor that they have a sleep problem (23 percent, compared to 18 percent overall), most often being insomnia (17 percent, compared to 11 percent overall).

2. Health Conditions

Even a simple stomachache may keep you from getting restful sleep. So it is not a surprise that individuals with health conditions might also experience disturbed sleep, according to the poll results. Of the women surveyed, 65 percent report being diagnosed with at least one medical condition, with the most common of these being depression (25 percent), arthritis (21 percent), heartburn, or gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) (20 percent), and/or high blood pressure (20 percent).

The women with poor or fair health are more likely than their healthy counterparts to report they have a good night's sleep only a few nights a month or less (51 percent vs. 19 percent); to have daytime sleepiness at least a few days a week (46 percent vs. 12 percent); and have missed at least one day of work because of sleepiness or sleep problems in the past month (26 percent vs. 7 percent).

If you are suffering from a health condition impacting your sleep, you might want to consult your trusted doctor for advice.

3. Your Period

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Regular or irregular, heavy or light flow, no two periods are the same, and every woman's experience with her period is unique. Unfortunately, one commonality many women share is having a hard time falling asleep. For example, according to the poll results, women with irregular periods (versus women with regular periods) are significantly more likely to be awake a lot during the night, at least a few nights a week (53 percent vs. 41 percent). They also report having a good night's sleep only a few nights a month or less (35 percent vs. 20 percent). On top of that, they report being told by a doctor that they have insomnia (16 percent vs. six percent).

Some of the symptoms of your period, such as bloating, nausea, headaches, can also make it difficult to fall and stay asleep. The NSF reports that one-third of menstruating women experience cramps, headaches, and bloating severe enough to cause sleep disturbances during their menstrual cycle.

If this sounds like you, you might want to consult your gynecologist about steps you can take to minimize the symptoms keeping you awake at night.

4. Your (Lack of) Birth Control

Of the surveyed women ages 18-44, 23 percent report using hormonal contraceptives, while 77 percent do not use hormonal contraceptives. The women not on hormonal birth control are more likely to experience daytime sleepiness at least a few days a week (28 percent vs. 17 percent). They also report being more likely to wake up too early and unable to get back to sleep (37 percent vs. 26 percent), and experience symptoms of Restless Leg Syndrome at least a few nights a week (19 percent vs. 12 percent).

5. Menopause

If you think that you can finally get that elusive good night's sleep now that you've reached menopause, you might want to readjust your point of view. In the same survey, the women who report being perimenopausal or postmenopausal also note that it poses challenges to their sleep quality. In fact, 21 percent say they have difficulty sleeping due to the symptoms of menopause, specifically hot flashes or night sweats, at least a few nights a week.

6. Pregnancy

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Growing an entire human is tiring work, but unfortunately, pregnant women aren't getting the sleep they need. The NSF survey finds that in general, pregnant women are significantly more likely than women who are not pregnant to get a good night's sleep only a few nights a month or less (40 percent vs. 29 percent). They also report having daytime sleepiness at least a few days a week (31 percent vs. 22 percent). Pregnant women also seem to experience symptoms of insomnia at least a few nights a week (84 percent vs. 67 percent).

Some of the factors pregnant women report as disruptors of their sleep include having to go to the bathroom, pain in their back, neck, or joints, leg cramps, heartburn, and more.

7. You Might Have Recently Given Birth

Compared to the general respondents, the group of postpartum women says they are more likely to get a good night's sleep only a few nights a month or less (55 percent vs. 29 percent). They also say that they seem to be awake a lot during the night at least a few nights a week (68 percent vs. 49 percent).

This lack of sleep seems to impact postpartum women during the daytime as well. The survey finds that 35 percent of postpartum women experience daytime sleepiness at least a few days a week (vs. 22 percent of women in general). Thirty-eight percent of postpartum women drive drowsy at least once a month (vs. 27 percent of general respondents), and 72 percent wake up feeling unrefreshed at least a few nights a week (vs. 50 percent of general respondents).

Additionally, women who take on the brunt of childcare by themselves are even less likely to have good, quality sleep. Compared to women who have help with childcare during the night, women who do it on their own are more likely to report having had a good night's sleep only a few nights a month or less (67 percent vs. 43 percent).

8. Your Diet

How and what you eat could impact your sleep. Spicy food may lead to painful heartburn that keeps you up at night. Consistently filling up on large meals might eventually lead to obesity, a well-documented cause of obstructive sleep apnea (OSA). Even your afternoon cup of coffee could compromise your sleep. Research shows that caffeine might still impact your ability to fall asleep even over six hours after consumption. So if you want to start winding down at around 9 p.m., it might be better to turn down that afternoon perk.

9. Stress

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It's two in the morning, and you have to get up by six. Now it's three, and you still haven't gotten a moment's rest. How are you going to be able to function tomorrow? In a rude twist of events, stressing about sleep could impact your ability to sleep. "It's true there's sort of a snowball effect—there's an initial insult, and then there's sort of a stress phenomenon that follows that," says Dianne Augelli, M.D., a fellow of the American Academy of Sleep Medicine and an Assistant Professor of Medicine in the departments of Medicine, Psychiatry, and Neurology at Joan & Sanford I. Weill Medical College of Cornell University. She adds that spending too much mental energy over not getting the right amount of sleep could worsen the problem.

If this sounds like you, you might want to heed the advice of Michelle Drerup, Psy.D., the Director of Behavioral Sleep Medicine at the Cleveland Clinic. She suggests using various relaxation techniques to keep your mind away from the fact that you're unable to fall asleep. She advises her patients to get out of bed and try a relaxing activity that doesn't involve a screen, like using an adult coloring book or reading a book or magazine.

10. You Might Have Poor Sleep Habits

Building a healthy nighttime routine could drastically improve your ability to fall asleep. Dr. Augelli recommends certain standard sleep promotional behaviors, like going to bed at the same time nightly, keeping the room dark and cool, not using one of your many devices before bed, and exercising but not too close to bedtime. Fixing your nightly routine could seem mundane, but it might improve the quality of sleep that you get.

How Could SugarBear Gummies Help You Sleep?

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If you're having trouble falling asleep or staying asleep but are wary of some of the impacts prescription medications can have, natural remedies could be the answer.

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