Do you know that women who are short on time, first cut back on sleep and exercise? Next to suffer cutbacks: social life, healthy eating…and sex.

January 16th, 2011

Tip# 12:  Sleep deprivation can cause havoc in our bodies and  can have an impact on our behaviour which further impacts our relationships. It has been estimated that over 20% of adults suffer from some form of sleep deprivation.Insomnia and sleep deprivation are common symptoms of depression and can be an indication of other mental disorders.

Today I understand more about sleep deprivation than I did in my early twenties.  At 23, I had my first son and did he cause sleep deprivation in my life!  The kid would not sleep at night and I had to be up most of the time with him.  After three months, I felt that I was going crazy – but then I did not understand the link between sleep deprivation and the craziness and depression I felt.  The result of this, was that my husband and I got into huge fights (because I was irritable most of the time – and he did not know how to support me either!).Eventually, in an effort to save my marriage and the kid, I decided to go back to study in Jamaica and leave our son to my mom, who also offered to keep him while I studied. It all worked out, but I carried quite a bit a guilt around this for years because I could not understand how a stable person like myself could have become so crazy. (I still remember that feeling!)  I feel for parents and moms who go through this and do not make the connection.

 It is recommended that we most of us need 7.5 – 8 hour s of sleep every night to be fully capable. 

Human sleep is regulated by a circadian clock located in a tiny, cone-shaped but essential intersection of cells in the hypothalamus called the suprachiasmatic nucleus. It is in turn fed by ganglion cells in the retina, which take their cues from light and dark cycles – that is, the rising and setting sun, the main determinant of when we want to wake up and when we want to sleep.

Being back home in St.Lucia, I felt that my body somehow went into a deep state of relaxation.  Now that I think about it, it might have to do with the rising and setting of the sun.  The sun set about 6p.m and it is dark by then and rises about 5:30a.m.  Most people seem to go to bed early and rise early in the morning.  In Canada, the rising and setting of the sun occurs at different times through the seasons – for example in winter, it is still dark outside at 7a.m (today) and the sun will set about 6 this evening.  In Summer, the sun does not set until 9 p.m… then we all automatically go to bed much later than we should.  The work times does not change to accommodate the rising and setting of the sun! 

The farther we stray from that simple schedule, the more we pay.

Sleep deprivation also has an impact on our sex drive. A recent survey of American women confirmed what most women already knew (and men suspected): They’re so rushed during the day that they don’t get enough sleep, and that means less sex for everyone. According to the National Sleep Foundation, women who are short on time first cut back on sleep and exercise. Next to suffer cutbacks: social life, healthy eating…and sex.

 “This is the largest survey in the U.S. of women in all stages of their life,” says Dr. Meir Kryger, director of research and education of Sleep Medicine at Gaylord Hospital in Wallingford, CT. “It’s one of the first to take into account both biology and lifestyle.

 “If poor sleep patterns are a daily occurrence for women, it severely impacts their energy towards sex in the bedroom — which is going to then affect men. It’s all interconnected, and recognizing the problem will help any relationship.”

The Harvard Women’s Health Watch suggests six reasons to get enough sleep:

  1. Learning and memory: Sleep helps the brain commit new information to memory through a process called memory consolidation. In studies, people who’d slept after learning a task did better on tests later.
  2. Metabolism and weight: Chronic sleep deprivation may cause weight gain by affecting the way our bodies process and store carbohydrates, and by altering levels of hormones that affect our appetite.
  3. Safety: Sleep debt contributes to a greater tendency to fall asleep during the daytime. These lapses may cause falls and mistakes such as medical errors, air traffic mishaps, and road accidents.
  4. Mood: Sleep loss may result in irritability, impatience, inability to concentrate, and moodiness. Too little sleep can also leave you too tired to do the things you like to do.
  5. Cardiovascular health: Serious sleep disorders have been linked to hypertension, increased stress hormone levels, and irregular heartbeat.
  6. Disease: Sleep deprivation alters immune function, including the activity of the body’s killer cells. Keeping up with sleep may also help fight cancer.

Here is the body-mind connection:

  1. Our physical body need to rest.  When we sleep, we provide the opportunity for our brain cells / neurons  to regenerate.
  2. When our brain cells are regenerated, we feel more alert, we are in a better mood,  stress hormones are reduced and we increase our bodies ability to deal with diseases.

How can we get more rest/sleep?

  1. Decide on a routine time to go to bed and try to encourage our partner, children – full household to all get to bed at the same time.
  2. Turn off the TV or radio… allow ourselves the opportunity to sleep deeply
  3. Reading a book sometimes helps  to fall asleep faster
  4. Delegate responsibilities to others so that we don’t have to do everything!
  5. Manage our time during the day so that we are not so tired. Create a list of things to do each week.  Try to balance those which are priorities and plan ahead  of time what you can do and still have your night sleep.

LookGood!!!!  FeelGood!!!! today by having enough beauty sleep!



2 thoughts on “Do you know that women who are short on time, first cut back on sleep and exercise? Next to suffer cutbacks: social life, healthy eating…and sex.

  1. OH! What great thoughts. You will not beleve that I have been giving serious though to enhancing my life and lo and behold reviewing my sleeping habits was top of my thoughts. I have increased my sleep in the last two weeks and G I feel better, my memory has increased and I function better. It’s difficult to get off the TV and go to your bed most of the time, even when the TV is watching me more of the time…… as we say . Now I let my self fall asleep with a lullaby!!!
    “Everyone deserves a full night sleep”

    • Thanks for your thoughts! I appreciate it.
      I have been getting more sleep over the last couple of weeks and you know what – I feel much, much better than before.
      I think that sometimes we forget the basics in life… and the more I think about it, it is the more I realize that we have adopted lifestyles that are going against the fundamentals of life.
      Yes – we all deserve a full night sleep to function better every day!

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