The woman’s lifespan is dotted with changes in biological, psychological and social aspects much more than that of the man. During the child-bearing phase, the woman undergoes monthly menstruations with monthly cycles of variations in female reproductive hormones. These hormones are the body chemicals that help develop female sex characteristics and play roles in the menstrual cycle, sexual attitudes, fertility, pregnancy, childbirth, breastfeeding and menopause. At menopause, the monthly menstruation stops and the chemicals decline irreversibly and indefinitely. But before menopause, if she becomes pregnant, the chemicals vary during pregnancy, immediately after childbirth and during breastfeeding.
As the woman’s biology and the body chemicals change, her disposition and role in society change too. She initially floats through the adolescent and young adult stages when she would mainly be appearance-conscious, seeking for independence, and concerned with peer/colleagues’ relationships. Subsequently, she might transform into a pregnant woman restricted by the biological load of unborn baby/babies in her womb. Following successful childbirth, she switches to multi-tasking, juggling together home-keeping activities, self-care, breast-feeding and nursing the baby. If she advances with a generation of children’s children, she assumes the roles and responsibilities of mother-in-law and grandmother.
Little wonder that sleep disturbances occur more frequently in women. Sleep may be adversely affected during times of body chemical fluctuations such as ovulation, menstruation, pregnancy, lactation (the production of milk by the breasts), the period just after delivery and around menopause. The chemical fluctuations alter the internal body clock that controls the sleep-wake cycle using dark and light signals from night-time and daytime. Apart from the body clock disturbances, menstrual pain disrupts sleep and menstrual heavy bleeding causes daytime sleepiness and poor night sleep. The stresses from woman’s roles and activities threaten sleep too, just as the distasteful mind-set resulting from the chemical changes and the woman’s stresses. Sleep disruptions during pregnancy also come from the challenging sleep positions during this time. During the period just after childbirth, the mother suffers poor night sleep and daytime sleepiness due to the new-born’s reverse sleep patterns of daytime sleep and night-time wakefulness, which is the opposite of the nursing mother’s pattern. Finally, at menopause, none of the associated symptoms like hot flashes, anxiety and depression guarantees good sleep.
Indeed, good sleep is obviously challenged by natural events in women. In the spirit of caring for all, International Women’s Day (IWD), which is observed the March 8th, was set as a global day dedicated to gender equality and women empowerment. The themes for 2023 International Women’s Day are, “DigitALL: Innovation and technology for gender equality” and “Embrace Equity.” The #EmbraceEquity theme seeks for understanding the difference between equity and equality and why “Equal Opportunities aren’t Enough!” Equality is giving everyone a shoe, while equity is giving everyone a shoe that fits. Equity recognizes that each person has different circumstances and allocates the resources and opportunities needed to reach an equal outcome.
Let us actively support women around us materially and emotionally in forming good sleep habits like consistently drinking water, healthy diet, regular exercise, avoiding smoking, excess alcohol and stimulants like caffeine. Other habits include making her sleeping environment more comforting and sleep-inducing: providing her with quality mattresses and pillows, a dark quiet sleeping place with calming sounds, pleasing scents and cool temperatures. Any available innovation and technology should also be employed in providing sleep opportunities for women.
Are you currently facing any sleeping difficulty or looking for the best way to maintain quality sleep for generally wellbeing and healthy living?
A certified specialist is best fit to offer relevant advice for maintenance of quality sleep, sleep difficulties and solution.
Do you want to contact the Orthopaedic Sleep Consultant, Dr Charles Uzodimma, kindly send your request to firstname.lastname@example.org or Whatsapp 08129982143
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