March 6, 2007 / 5:35 AM / 11 years ago

U.S. women too tired for friends, sex: poll

NEW YORK (Reuters Life!) - More than half of American women are not getting enough sleep — with stay-at-home mothers suffering the most — which stops them eating healthily, spending time with friends, or having sex.

A model yawns as she is made up prior to the the Port 1961 2007 fall fashion show during New York Fashion Week February 7, 2007. More than half of American women are not getting enough sleep -- with stay-at-home mothers suffering the most -- which stops them eating healthily, spending time with friends, or having sex. REUTERS/Keith Bedford

Nearly 70 percent of women say they frequently have a problem sleeping, with most of them stressed or anxious, and 60 percent only get a good night’s sleep a few nights a week, according to a poll by the National Sleep Foundation.

But while 72 percent of working mothers and 68 percent of single working women are more likely to suffer from insomnia, stay-home mothers have the worst overall sleep difficulties.

The “Sleep in America” poll found 74 percent of stay-at-home mothers suffered insomnia at least a few nights a week and 59 percent said they woke up feeling unrefreshed.

“American women are struggling to cope with this lack of sleep,” said Kathryn Lee, of the National Sleep Foundation (NSF) in a statement.

“Women’s lack of sleep affects virtually every aspect of their time-pressed lives, leaving them late for work, stressed out, too tired for sex and little time for their friends.”

The survey, released on Tuesday, found that when pressed for time, one half of women responded that sleep (52 percent) and exercise (48 percent) were the first things sacrificed.

But when women were tired or ran out of time, 39 percent also reduced the time they spent with friends and family, 37 percent stopped eating healthily and 33 percent stopped having sex with their partner.

“Interestingly, work is the last thing that women say they sacrifice when pressed for time; only 20 percent of women responded that they would opt to put work on the back burner when they run out of time or are too sleepy,” said Lee.

Most women who don’t get enough sleep just grin and bear it but 65 percent are likely to drink coffee or caffeinated beverages to keep going.

Instead of trying to get to bed early to make up for the lack of sleep, 87 percent said they watched television in the hour before going to sleep and 37 percent did other activities.

“Women tend to compromise the most important aspects of good health — diet, exercise and sleep — when trying to juggle the day’s ongoing responsibility,” Lee added.

“Foregoing healthy lifestyle habits in favor of more time during the day is not the solution. In fact, it can be detrimental to optimum health and performance.”

The NSF questioned 1,003 women between the ages of 18-64 for the poll to raise awareness about the problem.

It recommended avoiding caffeine in drinks and any alcohol a few hours before bedtime to improve sleep and finishing any exercise or workouts at least three hours before going to sleep. A cool, dark and quiet room may also help.

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