Feeling drowsy? "Women are probably the most sleep-deprived creatures on earth," writes Joyce Walsleben, director of the Sleep Disorders Center at New York University School of Medicine and the 1998 spokesperson for the National Sleep Foundation's Survey on Women and Sleep. Hormonal surges--pregnancy, PMS, perimenopause--disrupt our sleep, as do the combined demands of career and children. (A new mother may lose up to 700 hours of sleep before her baby's first birthday!) Add stress, bladder urgency, depression, pain, and a variety of other interferences, and it's a wonder we sleep at all.
Walsleben covers why and how we sleep, what's keeping us awake, aging and how it affects stages of sleep, and physical and emotional conditions that can interfere with getting enough sleep. She helps us understand what is disrupting our own sleep, with advice from simple lifestyle changes to herbs, supplements, drugs, and foods. And she provides tons of tips, such as these:
- If you have a glow-in-the-dark clock, turn it around so you won't see it when you wake up at night. We all wake up several times during the night, and watching the clock will reinforce the "awake feeling" and make it more difficult to get back to sleep.
- Avoid caffeine--including coffee, tea, soft drinks, and chocolate--and stimulating medications from afternoon on. It takes 3 to 7 hours to rid your system of caffeine completely.
- If you have a new baby, nap when your baby sleeps. Aim for a 30-minute nap in the early afternoon. A longer nap will make you sleep more deeply and awake feeling groggy and grumpy.
- If nighttime sex leaves you wide awake (while your partner sleeps like a baby beside you), try scheduling romance early in the evening, or delay it until early in the morning.
Whatever the reasons for your sleep deprivation, you'll find explanations and solutions in this book. You'll even learn a dozen ways to stop your partner from snoring! --Joan Price
From Publishers Weekly
Combining knowledge and writing skill, Walsleben, the director of the Sleep Disorders Center at NYU's School of Medicine, and Baron-Faust (What Every Woman Should Know About Breast Cancer) have prepared the first book focusing on sleeping problems that are unique to women. With a dose of good cheer and a knack for presenting complex information practically, the authors make a strong case for why women should not treat sleep lightlyAparticularly since 56% of all women suffer from sleep-deprivation due to hormonal imbalance and other female-only conditions. The good news is that, from infancy, women are able to experience more slow-wave (deep) sleep than men, and they maintain this ability throughout most of their lives. From the value of 20- to 40-minute naps (any longer would leave the napper groggy) to recipes for pre-bedtime snacks (foods such as milk, cheese, bananas and turkey are effective sleep-inducers if enjoyed an hour before bedtime) and useful suggestions, such as "ban glow-in-the-dark bedroom clocks," they provide many ideas that a woman can implement on her own as well as cautioning when to seek expert intervention. The authors also include a chapter on why women (unlike men) do not seem able to fall asleep quickly after sex (there may be psychological as well as biological reasons), and one on sleep disorders in children and teenagers. The appendix of resources help round out an altogether welcome book to the field of women's health. Agent, Vicky Bijur. 8-city author tour. (Sept.)
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