Most women do not get enough sleep. However, with so much on their plates, it is imperative that they do. Getting enough quality sleep can have positive benefits to physical, mental, and emotional health and can significantly improve quality of life.
And Dr. Sabrina Magid-Katz helps people get that sleep!
Magid-Katz is a member of the American Academy of Dental Sleep Medicine who gives lectures to dental societies about screening for sleep apnea. She practices general dentistry at Advanced Dentistry of Westchester in Harrison, New York where she also screens for and treats obstructive sleep apnea.
Magid-Katz has provided an exclusive Q & A for EmpowHER about why sleep is so important, why women aren’t getting enough of it, and what everyone can do about it!
Why is sleep important?
Sleep is a time for cell regeneration and memory consolidation. Sleep is important for your mental, physical and emotional health.
Sleep deprivation or poor quality of sleep can have immediate consequences, such as car accidents, and can contribute to chronic health problems. It can affect how you learn, think, work and react to people. It is important to note that it is not just the amount of sleep that matters but the quality of sleep.
Are there sleep disorders that are more common with women?
Women are more likely than men to have insomnia and report daytime sleepiness. Among other causes, this can be related to hormone fluctuations during menstruation, pregnancy or menopause.
Hormonal changes may also be associated with weight gain contributing to obstructive sleep apnea, which is a condition where the soft tissues of the mouth and throat block one’s airway and breathing for periods. An estimated 18 million Americans have sleep apnea, including one in four women over the age of 65.
Younger women are not exempt from risk either. Medications, neck size, jaw position and shape, tongue level, and weight are only some of the factors that contribute to obstructive sleep apnea, which can have serious health consequences over time.
How can people get more sleep?
1) Keep bright electronics out of the bedroom. When phones have a bright light and continually light up while you are trying to sleep, it will disrupt your productive sleep.
The wavelength that phones and other electronics use have also been shown to send alert signals to the brain and delay the release of melatonin, affecting your sleep rhythm and keeping you up past your bedtime.
2) Don’t eat too much right before bed. Cutting out food, specifically sugar and dairy, is simple to do and very important. Eating too much may promote heartburn, sweets will cause spikes in blood sugar, and dairy can produce mucus which affects your breathing while you sleep.
3) Don’t drink alcohol right before bed. Alcohol may help you fall asleep, but it will be an unproductive sleep and leave you tired in the morning.
4) Make sleep a priority by keeping a consistent bedtime and wake schedule, including weekends. Create a sleep routine that will help your body adapt to knowing when it is time for sleep.
5) Giving yourself enough time for sleep in the first place is key. Don’t think you can catch up on the weekends! Your body needs a certain amount of sleep per day, not in total.
6) Check your bedroom temperature. Your body temperature cycle is tied to your sleep cycle. A cool room temperature around 65 degrees can help your body regulate. Find what works best for you, but keep in mind that if it's too warm your sleep may be restless as your body cannot reach the dip in temperature it needs.
7) Don’t forget about exercise! Exercise is crucial in helping your body get a good night’s rest, but everyone is different with respect to how close to bedtime is okay. Try keeping a sleep journal and experiment with the time you exercise to find what is right for you.
8) Get a sleep study if you snore or gasp while sleeping and have difficulty controlling your blood pressure, reflux or blood sugar. Sleep studies can be done in a lab or even in the comfort of your own home. You may have a sleep disorder and not know it!
9) If your partner has a sleep problem and keeps you awake due to loud snoring, get them screened, diagnosed and treated so that you can not only sleep in quiet, but rest at ease that they're healthier too.
10) Don’t ignore your (or your spouse’s) sleep disorder! If you have a sleep disorder, it is important to find a treatment that you can stick to. Sleep disorders can contribute to high blood pressure, heart attacks, strokes, depression, impotence and diabetes to list a few.
Be sure that you are getting the reparative sleep you need to be a healthier and more refreshed you!
For more information and tips from Dr. Magid-Katz, visit her website, www.ADofW.com. Now, go to sleep!
Emailed interview with Dr. Sabrina Magid-Katz . 1 October 2014.
NHLBI.NIH.gov. 15 October 2014. "Why is sleep important?"
Reviewed October 16, 2014
by Michele Blacksberg RN
Edited by Jody Smith