Ever feel like you just can’t get enough sleep? You’re eating well, exercising, staying hydrated, even turning your phone off before bedtime, and still wake up feeling like you could sleep another 2-3 hours (or days)? You’re not alone. A recent survey revealed that only 1 out of 3 American adults report getting a satisfying night’s rest. Even if you’re lucky enough to get the standard recommended 7-9 hours of uninterrupted sleep, research continues to suggest that it may not be enough—especially for women!
So how much more do we need? And do women need more sleep than men? Well, it’s complicated. Just like every facet of health and wellbeing, it’s always going to be unique to the individual. But there are both biological and societal differences that reveal the crucial need for women to get more consistent, better quality sleep. We teamed up with the holistic wellness experts at Earthley to build a simple daily routine supported by herbs and holistic supports that won’t overwhelm your to-do list—or break the bank!
Earthly is on a mission to make holistic herbal remedies more accessible through their affordable price points and commitment to consumer education.
What Actually Happens While We Sleep?
You may be familiar with the concept of sleep cycles and the idea of REM and non-REM sleep, but do you know what happens in the body during those stages? Major restorative functions in the body like tissue repair, protein synthesis, and growth hormone release occur mostly, and in some cases only, during sleep. Plus, a ton of neurological activity such as activation of the limbic system, flushing of toxins from our nervous system, and even memory consolidation only gets underway properly while we snooze. Uninterrupted sleep is key. We must cycle through the sleep stages many times through the night to allow for these restorative and repair processes to occur and support our overall wellbeing.
A consistent lack of sleep can have a massive trickle down effect on your health. Sleep debt increases the risk of heart disease, cancer and diabetes; sugar cravings, insulin resistance and obesity; depression and anxiety; dementia; inflammation and oxidative stress. Plus, a lack of sleep can decrease libido and impair immune function.
Many of us have learned to make sleep a last priority in the juggle of modern life, but, the truth is, our productivity, mental health and overall wellness all fare better with a healthy sleep schedule.
4 Reasons Why Women Need More Sleep Than Men
New studies indicate that over 60% of women have trouble falling asleep and are 1.5 times more likely to wake up feeling tired. Sound familiar? Here’s what you should know:
+ The sleep-wake cycle is ruled by hormones and women can experience hormonal changes monthly due to the menstrual cycle and over the course of life stages.
+ Women depend on a variety of hormones impacted by sleep (such as insulin and growth hormone) for energy consumption while men’s vitality and repair is primarily from testosterone.
+ Women are 40% more likely to have insomnia than men.
+ Women are also more likely than men to wake up in the middle of the night to take care of others in the home. Sleep disruptions cause the cycles to get off track and ultimately leave the body needing more overnight rejuvenation.
Earthley wants more women to consider their sleep routine as key to their overall wellness. That starts with education and better planning, and often includes holistic supports that can help us to achieve better sleep more frequently.
The Best Sleep Routine Lasts All Day
While there’s no denying the soothing power of a cup of tea or 15-minute meditation in the evening, the best news for women with busy schedules and competing responsibilities is that improving your sleep is more than just what you do at night. Making a few tweaks to our routine and diet during the day can be just as important as dimming the lights and getting away from screens.
Seek Daylight First Thing | Waking up is also part of the sleep cycle and should be considered in your routine. Getting 10 minutes of daylight in the morning will activate your body’s hormone regulation to decrease melatonin production and increase the cortisol spike that gives us energy in the morning. If you can’t get outside, enjoy your morning smoothie facing the window with the most daylight.
Cut OUT Coffee By Lunch | As the management and consistency of cortisol levels is so crucial to our circadian rhythm, it’s important to reduce the impact of stimulants like caffeine. Try for one cup of coffee in the morning or shift to herbal teas by noon so that there isn’t an artificial dysregulation of cortisol secretion when we actually want it slow down towards the evening as melatonin ramps up.
Supplement for Stress Relief | A sense of calm is integral to avoiding disrupted sleep. For particularly hectic days that stir up anxiety, we love an herbal tonic to support our stress hormones. Earthley’s Master Tonic is designed to support every system in the body, including the stress response and inflammation. How our bodies manage stress and inflammation is key for better sleep!
We also love Earthley’s Calming Essential Oil Roller — think lavender, cedar and ylang ylang — for a quick hit of calming aromatherapy between meetings.
ADD SLEEP-SUPPORTIVE FOODS TO YOUR MEAL PLAN | Our bodies need the right nutrients for sleep just as much as we do for fitness or work. Some of the best sleep-supportive foods include cherries, salmon, almonds, walnuts, olives, poultry, and bananas. Look for foods high in tryptophan (a key amino acid building block for melatonin), potassium, vitamin D (which helps the body use seratonin), magnesium, and melatonin.
TURN DOWN THE TEMP | An important factor in having sufficient REM sleep and having your circadian rhythm properly calibrated is to sleep in a bedroom with a cool temperature. If the temperature in your bedroom is too high or your blankets are too warm, your body has trouble regulating its own temperature. As a result, you may wake up or disrupt a REM cycle. The best temperature for sleeping is somewhere between 60-67°F, so look for ways to keep that specific room cool and keep your blankets light.
treat yourself to herbs and minerals to support deep sleep | When you’re almost ready for bed, treat yourself to herbs and minerals to support deep sleep. Add a few drops of Earthley’s Sleepy Time Herbal Extract to warm water 30 minutes before bed and feel relaxing skullcap and passionflower work their magic. This extract is safe for kid over one year of age — consider making it a family ritual!
Most of us are magnesium deficient. Nightly supplementation could make a meaningful difference on both stress and sleep. Give yourself a massage with Earthley’s magnesium-infused Good Night Lotion. Magnesium has been shown to support deep (REM) sleep by modulating GABA activity in the brain.
Where To Start To Improve Sleep
Struggling with sleep can (maddeningly) cause a lot of stress in and of itself, but Earthly’s mission is to make your sleep routine a delight. In addition to their sleep supportive products, check out their downloadable resource, The Secret To A Good Night’s Sleep Guide as well. Inside the guide you’ll find in-depth education on nutrition for healthy sleep, everything you should know about melatonin, and how herbs work to promote better quality sleep.
As so many of us are affected by magnesium deficiency, we recommend starting your sleep optimization journey with Earthley’s magnesium-infused Good Night Lotion and their downloadable Sleep Guide. Consider them part of your new wind down routine.
Ready to get your circadian rhythm back on track? Tell us what you’re trying in the comments below!
These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. This story is brought to you in partnership with Earthley. From time to time, TCM editors choose to partner with brands we believe in to bring our readers special offers. All material on The Chalkboard Mag is provided for educational purposes only. Always seek the advice of your physician or another qualified healthcare provider for any questions you have regarding a medical condition, and before undertaking any diet, exercise or other health-related programs.