Goodnight, Sweetheart, Goodnight | Marla Ahlgrimm on Women and Sleep

Marla AhlgrimmSleep is a luxury that eludes many women, says Marla Ahlgrimm. The retired hormone specialist explains that women’s bodies require an average of 20 minutes of additional slumber compared to their male bedmates. But they aren’t getting it and that’s a problem.

According to Marla Ahlgrimm, women lose sleep for many reasons throughout each stage of their lives. During pregnancy, hormones (and a growing midsection) can lead to insomnia. In the first few years after giving birth, women sleep lighter than before, ostensibly as a biological response to having offspring to care for. Hormones make their presence known at night again during menopause. This time, it’s hot flashes that unveil the unrest.

The years between motherhood and menopause aren’t without chemically-caused sleep disturbances. Women often report insomnia as a monthly occurrence, along with their periods, says Marla Ahlgrimm. Additionally, women worry more than men and this general sense of anxiety can cause wakefulness and induce long-lasting poor sleep patterns. Other sleep disruptions include sounds and movements made by a sleeping male partner. Men are statistically nearly 40 pounds heavier and six inches taller than their spouses, their movements are more pronounced throughout the night. Between the bed shaking and a man’s snoring (men snore 10x more than women), many women are unable to experience more than a few hours of deep, restful sleep each night, reports Marla Ahlgrimm.

Because sleep is so important, Marla Ahlgrimm suggests that women make an effort during the day to ensure better sleep at night. Sher recommends 30 minutes of vigorous physical activity and abstention from coffee and other stimulants after lunch. When worry is the culprit, women should find an outlet for their fears while the sun is up so their minds can shut down when the lights go out.

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