Have you been getting your eight hours?
How did you feel when your alarm went off this morning? How many times did you press snooze? Did you feel like you could have done with another four hours of sleep?
Then you’re probably one of the women in the UK who is totally exhausted.
According to new research, nearly half of women in the UK are overtired and sleep-deprived, but most do not seek medical advice as they believe being tired is just part of life.
However the constant exhaustion and lack of sleep women suffer from could actually be down to a medical condition called sleep apnoea, which causes snoring and pauses in breathing – and unfortunately, menopause and pregnancy are also common causes of disturbed sleep.
YouGov and the Sleep Apnoea Trust Association (SATA) conducted a study about sleep habits, entitled ‘Reclaim Your Sleep’, interviewing over 4,000 people in the UK – and found that 43% of women said they don’t get enough sleep, 45% don’t feel well-rested when they wake up, and 46% said they have trouble sleeping.
In contrast, just 36% of men had trouble sleeping.
Women’s trouble sleeping didn’t only impact them during the night, but during their day-to-day lives too, with 60% saying they felt irritable due to the lack of shut-eye, and 33% saying they felt less confident in their looks after another night of tossing and turning.
‘Often women think that feeling exhausted is just part of modern life when in fact it could be something more serious,’ said Professor John Stradling, a sleep expert from Oxford University.
‘Remaining untreated leaves women at risk of reduced quality of life and serious health conditions, so it is important that they speak to their GP about any sleep problems that they have – the sooner their sleep issues are addressed by a sleep expert, the better.’
Bill Johnston of SATA warned women to go and see their doctors so that sleep problems such as sleep apnoea, which affects around 1.5 million adults in the UK, do not go undiagnosed.
‘The overall lack of awareness around sleep apnoea symptoms and its impact on a person’s health may mean that many are suffering in silence so it is important that we work with healthcare professionals to uncover this missing group and help minimise the impact of sleep problems on their lives,’ said Johnston.
‘Women also need to help their doctor understand how they sleep to avoid misdiagnosis. Discussing their sleep quality, and any difficulties sleeping (such as insomnia, frequent awakenings, snoring and sleepiness or tiredness during the day), will really help.’
Could sleep apnoea really be the reason we can never seem to get forty winks when we want to? It could be time to make that appointment and find out once and for all…