Women's Health Week: Getting a good night's sleep

Women's Health Week continues on Daybreak and one experts tells us what happens when we don't sleep and what to do to get the "zzz's" we need.

Ah, some rest for the weary. Dinner is done, kids are sound asleep, so now it's your turn… right?

The average needs about seven to eight hours of sleep per night, but who has the time for that? Sleeping seems to be a luxury, especially for moms.

According to the National Sleep Foundation, women are more likely to report sleep problems than men. It could be something as simple as having your dog on the bed, or checking that last Facebook comment before turning out the light.

Getting enough Zzz's isn't always a choice. Hormones play a big role in getting a good night's sleep. Altitude, thyroid problems, or sleep apnea can also have an impact..

"If you're not breathing well at night, that could affect your sleep quality as well," said Dr. Jeffrey Sippel, a pulmonologist and sleep medicine expert at the University of Colorado Hospital.

"Sleep apnea, those people might fall asleep while driving," Sippel added. "Obstructive sleep apnea can affect women just as much as men."

And pinpointing the problem can be as easy as recognizing the signs.

"If you have trouble falling asleep or maintaining your sleep, or you wake up too early, you may have insomnia. And most people will feel poorly throughout the day," he said.

Poor sleep can have a bigger effect on women than men, too. Researchers found that for women, not enough sleep can increase the risk of heart disease, diabetes, and more stress.

"You're more likely to have simple accidents around the house," Sippel said. "You're more likely to have infections. Sleep quality affects all of us."

Improving your sleep happens before you even go to bed. Establish a regular fitness routine, go to bed at the same time every day of the week, and get into a relaxing bedtime routine. And if that doesn't work, call your doctor.

Fitbits claim to track your sleep, letting you know whether you had a light sleep or deep sleep, but the medical community isn't convinced on its accuracy.

If you're really concerned about your sleep, you can get a professional study like an actograph. It tells you how long you were in a deep sleep, and whether your patterns are healthy.

If you’re having trouble getting enough sleep, there are services available to you at Sentara Healthcare, Bon Secours Health System, and EVMS.

Virginia Neurology & Sleep Centers are also here to help you sleep well.

© 2017 KUSA-TV


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