Survey Finds Women Need More Sleep

A new survey released by the National Sleep Foundation found that 60 percent of American women say they get a good night's sleep only a few nights per week or less, and 67 percent say they frequently experience sleep problems.

The poll also found that 43 percent of women say sleepiness during the day interferes with their activities.

Despite feeling tired as often as they do, most women don't go to sleep as early as they probably should and trade their time in bed for watching TV, household chores, family activities, computer time and their jobs.

"One of the big reasons is there's so much to do," National Sleep Foundation spokesman Dr. Philip Muskin told The Early Show co-anchor Julie Chen. "And by the end of the day, there's still so much to do. For women who have children, there's children to take care of. There's laundry to take care of. There's homework to take care of. Meals to prepare. The end of the day comes and the woman might be very tired, but she hasn't given herself any time to relax, to buffer herself between a very busy day and time to go to sleep. And her brain's not ready to go to sleep. So the body's tired, but she's not ready to go to sleep."

Although this poll only sampled women, Muskin says the results could just as easily apply to men.

According to the study, 80 percent of the women survey say worry keeps them awake, 79 percent blame stress or anxiety, 55 percent say depression prevents them from sleeping and 36 percent attribute their sleep problems to feelings of hopelessness.

Muskin, who is also a psychiatrist at New York Presbyterian Hospital-Columbia University Medical Center, said that women need to develop good sleep habits and hygiene.

"Exercising — that's really good for sleep, but it's not so good if you do it at the end of date because it stimulates you," Muskin said. "Exercise earlier in the day."

It doesn't take a lot of exercise to get your body in shape for restful sleep. Muskin said people can begin with just 15 minutes of activity. He also said it's important to avoid caffeine late in the day and to stop consuming it at 2 p.m. at the latest. It could be a hard habit to break for many women: 37 percent of women drink three or more caffeinated beverages per day.

"Caffeine's in coffee. It's in tea. All sorts of sodas. It's in those energy drinks. There's a lot of caffeine we all take in because we want to be alert, awake during the day, and then at the end of the day it comes back," he said. "The other is alcohol. People have a drink with dinner or a couple of drinks and some wine. Alcohol may make you sleepy and you fall asleep but then you wake up because the alcohol is gone and now you're up in the middle of the night."

Everyone requires a different amount of sleep, Muskin said; the important thing is to understand your individual sleep pattern.

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