Sleep is essential for maintaining good physical and mental health. Sleep allows our mind and body to recharge, leaving us alert and ready for each day. However, most people don’t sleep as well or as much as they should. Almost 30% of women suffer from a sleep problem compared to 20% of men. Sleep disturbances affect women throughout their entire life, however there are steps we can take to increase our sleep quality.
A sleep and women’s health study states that when women have extreme hormone fluctuations it often leads to poor sleep quality.1 Therefore hormonal changes during menstruation, pregnancy and menopause can make sleeping more difficult. These fluctuations can increase our body temperature which can lead to uncomfortable hot flashes and night sweats. If we can’t stay in the ideal climatic comfort zone, our sleep, in particular our deep sleep, suffers.
Not getting a good night’s sleep goes beyond feeling tired. It affects our mood, our energy levels, our patience, and our clarity to take on a new day. There is lifestyle changes we can make to sleep more soundly throughout the night, especially during menstruation, pregnancy, and menopause.
What can we do to sleep better?
While we cannot control the physiological processes that our body undergoes as we age, we have much more control over our sleep than we often realize. Routines and environmental factors affect our sleep-wake cycle, which is our 24-hour body clock that responds to light and dark, signalling when we feel awake or tired.2 An unbalanced sleep-wake cycle can lead to impaired sleep.
There are many approaches we can take to create an environment that encourages better sleep at night. These steps include not only securing a calming night routine, but also having healthy daytime habits such as exercising and eating well.
The monthly menstrual cycle prepares the body for possible pregnancy. Having regular cycles is an important sign that our bodies are working normally. Woman typically experience premenstrual symptoms (PMS) during the last few days of the cycle, due to changes in the levels of the hormones progesterone and estrogen.1 These fluctuations can lead to symptoms such as cramping, headaches, moodiness, cravings, and irritability. Poor sleep quality, night-time awakenings, and nightmares are common negative effects of sleep quality during menstruation.
SLEEPing soundly DURING the menstrual cycle
Menstrual symptoms often feel uncomfortable, making it difficult to fall asleep. However, there are some changes we can implement throughout our lifetime to achieve a better night’s rest during our cycles:
- Heat therapy: Try a warm water bottle or heat pad to reduce cramps or lower back pain
- Exercise: Physical activity elevates our core body temperature and after about 30 to 90 minutes, the temperature starts to fall. This decline helps to facilitate sleepiness.3
- Relaxation: Practice deep breathing techniques, journaling, or meditating to help reduce stress levels
- Sleep in the fetal position: Sleeping with your arms and legs tucked in can help to alleviate tension from cramping
- Bedroom: Keep the room temperature below 18°C/ 64.4°F as hormones during our cycle elevate our body temperature. Wear temperature and moisture regulating sleepwear.
Pregnancy is for many a period of excitement and anticipation of welcoming a new addition to the family. However, fluctuating hormones and changes to the body can make sleeping difficult. Many women will experience hot flashes as well as an elevated heart rate, which can lead to restless sleep. As the pregnancy advances and the baby bump grows, it can be increasingly difficult to find a comfortable sleeping position leading to abdominal discomfort, leg cramps, and back aches, which all affect our sleep cycle. Frequent urination also leads to poor sleep.1
Findings from a sleep study suggest that by the third trimester, women wake up 3-5 times per night and 21% of women report that their level of sleep quality is consistent with an insomnia disorder diagnosis.1
Sleeping soundly during pregnancy
It is important to focus on what we can do for our bodies to help our sleep cycle during pregnancy:
- Find a comfortable sleeping position: Try sleeping on the left side, this keeps the uterus off our liver and increases blood flow. You can also experiment with a pillow in different positions to relieve pressure.
- Sleeping environment: Keep the bedroom temperature low to combat night sweats. It is important to have temperature regulating sleepwear to aid the body’s natural thermoregulation process. Shop our pyjamas for night sweats.
- Watch when you eat: Avoid foods that can cause an acid reflux and don’t eat within 3-4 hours of going to bed.
- Soothe your leg pain: Eat a calcium-rich diet and try stretching your legs before going to bed.
- Ease new parent worries: Try to ease potential stress by practicing yoga, meditation, and breathing exercises.
Read more about how to sleep better while pregnant.
Menopause is defined after one year of the last menstrual cycle when a woman is no longer ovulating or can get pregnant. Findings from a sleep disorders and menopause study suggest changes in hormones begin anywhere from 7-10 years before menopause.4 As a result of these hormonal changes, women may experience trouble sleeping. The most common menopause sleep problems include hot flashes, insomnia and even breathing problems such as sleep apnea.
Hot flashes give an intense feeling of heat and makes you sweaty caused by an extreme fluctuation in hormones. This interruption in sleep can hinder our circadian rhythm. Our temperature regulating pyjamas can help to reduce feeling too hot or too cold at night.
sleeping soundly DURING MENOPAUSE
While it is best to contact your doctor for insomnia and breathing related problems, there are a few changes you can make to your sleep environment that might help ease the effects of menopause:
- Comfortable sleeping climate: Keeping a cooler bedroom, around 18°C/ 64.4°F, and a quiet sleep environment.
- Keeping a cooling aid nearby: Try to keep a cool glass of water and a cloth nearby for quick relief from potential hot flashes during the night.
- Habits & Lifestyle: It is important to establish a sleep schedule and start relaxing and unwinding well before going to bed. Reducing the use of technical gadgets late at night also helps to create a healthy bedtime routine.
- Exercise: there is a clear correlation between being over-weight and sleep apnea. Try incorporating daily aerobic exercise or strength training. Being active even for short periods of time throughout the day can add up to benefit our health.
- Mood & Stress: Try a guided meditation to calm your nervous system. If your mind is racing with everything you have to do tomorrow, create a to do list the night before so you don’t worry about forgetting something, which might be keeping you awake
- Use the right pyjamas for hot flashes: Most sleepwear today traps in excess heat and easily become soaked if you start to sweat. The right menopause pyjamas, which are light weight, moisture wicking, and breathable, can make a real difference to the quality of our sleep. Shop our nightwear for menopause.
Read more about how to get a good night's sleep during menopause.
sleeping soundly WITH DAGSMEJAN
Regardless of what phase of life you are in, here are a few elements to look for when choosing comfortable pyjamas:
- Temperature regulation: Our sleepwear should keep us warm while providing breathability throughout the night. It is important to never feel too hot or too cold to sleep soundly the whole night.
- Moisture management: It is important that our sleepwear works with our body’s natural thermoregulation process, not against it. Our fibres have both hydrophobic and hydrophilic properties, with benefits of evaporative cooling and moisture wicking.
- Supreme fit and comfort: Look out for tags, buttons and seams that can cause irritation during the night.
- Super soft touch: When we sleep the blood flow to our skin increases making us more sensitive to touch. Make sure that enjoy a great night sleep by wearing the softest pyjamas.
FIND your perfect pyjama
Dagsmejan sleepwear is designed for incredible sleep comfort all night, every night. Our collections cater to your individual physiological sleep needs while combining the finest natural fibres with the latest textile technology. We work with material scientists and sleep experts for scientifically proven sleepwear to help you sleep at the right temperature. Find the most comfortable women’s pyjamas for you:
Dagsmejan’s merino wool pyjamas for women combine the finest merino wool with high-tech Tencel from Eucalyptus. Our wool pyjamas provide 50% lighter warmth than other thermal sleepwear and are 4x more breathable than cotton. Our patented NATTWARM™ fabric keep you warm without ever overheating, making for the best wool pyjamas. This luxury sleepwear is your perfect match if you have a tendency to get cold during the night or during the winter season. Discovery what our most comfy pyjamas can do for your sleep:
Our temperature regulating pyjamas from the Balance collection will keep you at the optimal sleeping temperature all night long, never being too hot or too cold. Our NATTWELL™ fabric is 4x better at drawing sweat away from the skin, while being lightweight and exceptionally soft. Made with beechwood fibres, this comfortable sleepwear combines moisture management with ultimate sleep comfort. Discover our temperature control pyjamas:
Our cooling pyjamas for women made from our NATTCOOL™ fabric is 8x more breathable than cotton and dries in 1/3 of the time. Our Stay Cool collection is made with Eucalyptus fibres, releasing water vapour 60% better than cotton and providing better moisture management. Making for the best cooling pyjamas, you never have to worry about night sweats in the warmer months. Discover our cooling sleepwear:
1 Data from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4327930/
2 Data from https://www.nigms.nih.gov/education/fact-sheets/Pages/circadian-rhythms.aspx
3 Data from https://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/health/wellness-and-prevention/exercising-for-better-sleep
4Data from https://synapse.koreamed.org/articles/1130982