International Women’s Day 2023: Women Deserve More Time for Quality Sleep
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.
The body’s chemicals’ actions along with woman’s roles and activities come with some unattractive mind-set. In a woman’s lifespan, we find the bottled emotional energy of adolescence, the young lady’s worry over her career and marriage, the anxiety of safe delivery in pregnancy, and lingering tiredness and irritability in the over-laboured, multi-tasking nursing mother.
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.
In a similar spirit, I beg everyone to assist women’s naturally challenged sleep through enhanced sleep opportunities. At the very least, the men should stop the discriminatory delegation of the home-keeping chores and cooking to the females. This can be done by ensuring that males join and even do more of the home activities if possible, or getting the functions from profit-making persons and sources. Men should also strive to be sources of positive energy to help in cushioning women’s natural unpleasant emotions.
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.
Let us remember that when you sleep, where you sleep and how you sleep affect your mental health, physical well-being and living a healthy life. We all need quality sleep to be set for productivity in our endeavours.
Do you need further information on the above subject? Are you looking for ways to maintain quality sleep for general well-being and healthy living? Remember, a doctor is an appropriate person to offer relevant advice for the maintenance of quality sleep and solution to sleep difficulties. Do you want to contact the Orthopaedic Sleep Consultant, Dr Charles Uzodimma, kindly send your request to [email protected] OR Whatsapp 08129982143.
Vitafoam Nigeria Plc is the first foam manufacturing company in Nigeria to partner with a Sleep Expert in educating Nigerians on Quality Sleep for Healthy Living. They are truly passionate about quality sleep, healthy living and the general well-being of Nigerians. Vitafoam is proudly Nigerian and constantly supports Nigerians with consistent quality products for comfort and well-being. With Vitafoam, you don’t just sleep, they give you the comfort that gets you recharged. To learn more about Vitafoam, visit www.vitafoamng.com