Expert Advice

Women and sleep health: What does research say?

Hormones and sleep

Poor sleep caused by a variety of sleep problems, such as insomnia and sleep apnea, can increase your chances of developing heart disease, especially if you are a woman, says study. 

According to research, women who get poor sleep are likely to binge-eat which involves consuming a diet that is low on nutritional value and high on bad cholesterol. This study conducted by researchers at Columbia University Irving Medical Center finds that poor quality sleep in women increases their chances of obesity, and subsequently, the risk of developing heart disease. 

All the studies published before the current study, have shown how the lack of good sleep, can cause women to develop conditions, such as type 2 diabetes, obesity as well as heart disease. However, the current study gives us insights into not just sleep duration but sleep quality as a factor determining the threat of developing heart diseases. 

The study involved 495 participants, women from ethnically diverse backgrounds and between the ages of 20 and 76 years. For the study, the researchers examined the participants’ sleep quality, degree of insomnia, and how quickly the participants fell off to sleep. To understand their food habits, the researchers looked into what kind of food the participants ate and how much of it. 

After analyzing the sleep patterns and the dietary patterns of the participants, the researchers concluded that women who were getting poor sleep were more likely to take added sugars leading to obesity as well as diabetes. Conversely, the inability to fall asleep quickly was associated with a higher intake of calories.  

It is quite clear then how bad sleep is the culprit here. The causes can be plenty, from shift work and stress caused by work pressure to menstrual cycle causing hormonal disbalances and postpartum depression after childbirth. However, one factor that often goes unnoticed when talking about bad sleep is the mattress. The quality of the mattress you use is completely responsible for poor sleep in most cases; however, it goes undetected. 

For good sleep, you need a mattress that will snuggle you to sleep. You need a mattress that will distribute your bodyweight uniformly so that no pressure points are created in your neck, shoulders, and hips. This mattress will ensure that your spine remains naturally aligned so that your posture is taken care of and your backache is not aggravated further. This mattress will also enable motion isolation, so that when one sleeper tosses and turns, the other is not jostled out of bed. The mattress will absorb the motion caused by one sleeper and totally separate it making sure the other sleeper gets zero disturbance sleep. The mattress should also be hypoallergenic. You cannot get good sleep if you sleep on a mattress that allows dust to settle on its surface or seep through its layers. A good mattress will keep dust, moulds, mites, and other allergens away from itself and you. 

This Women’s Day, help the woman in your life sleep better. Get her a mattress she deserves.

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