Do we really need more sleep than men?

Sleep is an essential function for the human body. But it's not always easy to get enough quality sleep. Whether it's because we're stressed or because we don't maintain a good sleep preparation routine (more on this in a bit), it's common to wake up and feel like we needed another night's sleep to be really awake, right? And for women, the need and difficulty to get a good night's sleep can be even greater.

What happens when we sleep?

Sleep is essential for our brain and physique to recover, allowing us to be fit for the next day (and in the long run too). When we don't get enough sleep, we compromise concentration, mood, energy levels and thinking. Plus, we consistently sleep poorly and/or too little:

  • increases the risk of cardiovascular disease, cancer and diabetes;
  • increases the cravings during the day;
  • increases insulin resistance and can make it harder to lose weight (or even contribute to weight gain);
  • contributes to a higher prevalence of depression, anxiety and even dementia;
  • increases the risk of inflammation and oxidative stress in the body;
  • decreases libido;
  • compromises our autoimmune function.

Why are women different?

Hormonal changes. Whether they are more regular in life, such as menstruation or ovulation, or more punctual, such as pregnancy and menopause, they all alter the architecture of sleep and the length and quality of sleep cycles. In addition, while men's physical and mental recovery depends mainly on testosterone, women's is more impacted by hormones that are crucial in sleep cycles, namely insulin and growth hormone.

Continued lack of rest. Women tend to accumulate more functions and there are even studies that prove that female brain activity is higher, largely due to our lack of rest. multi-tasking. This means we don't switch off as easily at bedtime. Plus, if you've ever been a mom, you know that night wakings to take care of your kids drastically change your sleeping posture, even after they're grown.

Increased tendency to suffer from insomnia. It is estimated that we are 40% more likely to suffer from insomnia than men. At puberty, for example, hormonal changes in the female body make them 3 times more likely to suffer from insomnia compared to boys of the same age.

How to prepare the body for better sleep?

In addition to end-of-day routines, a good night's sleep is prepared... from the moment you wake up!

Natural light when you wake up. When we expose ourselves to sunlight when we wake up, we are giving our body a signal that it can sleep longer. decrease melatonin production (important for falling asleep) and increase cortisol production, responsible for giving us energy in the morning. If you can, get 10 minutes of sunshine when you wake up, at the window, on the balcony or even on a brisk walk.

Do not drink coffee from lunchtime onwards. Caffeine stimulates our body and can deregulate cortisol production, which will affect the quality and consistency of sleep. Try to drink coffee only in the first part of the day (preferably 1h30 after waking up) and then opt for other drinks. If you really feel like you need something stimulating, opt for a matchaas its release of caffeine in the body is quite different.

Support sleep through diet. It's no news that what we eat is essential for our overall health, so we can also choose some sleep-friendly foods rich in potassium, vitamin D, magnesium, melatonin and tryptophan. Almonds, walnuts, bananas, oily fish, cherries, eggs and yogurt are some of them.

Regulate the temperature of the room. Try to keep your bedroom between 15°C and 20°C. Bedrooms or bedding that are too warm will affect your body temperature, making it difficult to fall asleep (or causing you to wake up during the night). If you sleep in a very warm space, taking a cooler shower before bed can help (and if you use the Relax scrub is a bonus, as the lavender scent is highly relaxing).

Supplements with calming medicinal plants. Especially in the second half of the day, you can start to taking some supplements with medicinal plants and adaptogens that can calm the mind, reduce cortisol levels, improve mood and relax muscles. Change your afternoon coffee or end your day with a cup of Calma and take the Sleeping Drops at dinner time to prepare for a night's sleep.