Whether she is a student, working, or a stay-at-home mom, most women have an unhealthy sleep pattern. A study by the Sleep Research Centre at England’s Loughborough University in February 2023 found that women need more rest than men. Given the demanding schedules that women have every day, their brains need more time to recover from the routine. However, do women really have the luxury of getting adequate sleep of eight hours?
On one hand, gender norms expect women to shoulder all the domestic responsibilities, and on the other hand, women have this embedded mindset due to internalised patriarchy to take on more responsibilities than they can handle and thus compromise on sleep. An average woman would wake up at 5 or 6 a.m. and start off with her never-ending chores. If she managed to find time to take a power nap in between, that is a blessing.
Importance Of Sleep For Women
According to the survey, women are 40 percent more likely to suffer from insomnia and twice as likely to experience anxiety and depression than men. Women have a hard time sleeping during menstruation because of cramps. Pregnancy, postpartum, and motherhood can completely wreck women’s sleep if they don’t receive help. Menopause is another period where women struggle to sleep.
All the sleep deprivation leads to irritability, making life more difficult for women. While people complain when women are short-tempered, how many people really understand what a woman goes through and ensure she gets the help she needs? Isn’t it vital that women begin addressing their sleep issues and prioritise self-care when their physical and emotional health is at stake? After all, they can only look after others if they are healthy.
On the occasion of World Sleep Day, let’s hear from three women about the importance of sleep and how they ensure they get adequate sleep while balancing their busy lives.’
“Till the age of 1 year, my son used to stay up all night and sleep during the day. Managing the baby all by myself, I started getting exhausted to the point that it took a toll on my emotional health and led to unidentified physical health issues. I learned the value of sleep the hard way, so since then I have begun to ensure that I never compromise on sleep. Yoga and 30-minute walks every day are something that have helped me sleep well,” said Sreelekha Menon, Head of Human Resources at SheThePeople.
Most people claim that mothers should sleep train their babies by three months to make them sleep at night. However, every baby is different, and when the mother is parenting all alone, it has serious health repercussions. This is why new mothers require care and attention as much as babies do.
“I used to work night shifts during the beginning of my career, which messed up my health and led to hormonal imbalance. I learned the importance of sleep at the cost of my health. Since then, I switched to a day job and ensure I hit the bed at 10.30–11.00 p.m. latest. Any physical activity for 30 minutes, dinner 2-3 hours before bedtime, and keeping phones away 20–30 minutes before bedtime helps big time,” says Deeptha Sreedhar, an MNC professional.
Niveditha Sreenivasan, an MNC professional, said, “It’s very important that we learn to balance and prioritise. I can relate to the fact that women are trained by default to be running behind work even after everything has been checked off the list. I think we need to split the workload with our partner, roommate, or other family members. Eating healthy and on time, staying hydrated, avoiding phones before bedtime, and listening to a soothing playlist help with sleep.
It’s very important that women start asking for help, even though they were taught not to. Women need to realise that it is okay to prioritise themselves, take a break to unwind, and not put their health in jeopardy. Family members should begin taking on equal responsibilities at home. Whoever said that domestic chores and parenting are women’s domain is long gone now. So, can we stop treating women like machines and give them the rest they deserve?
Suggested Reading: Struggling To Get Enough Sleep? Here Are Three Bedtime Hacks To Help