Sound slumber results in increased energy and productivity, improved heart and immune system health, a better mood, even a longer life. And hey, you just feel so much better after a satisfying 8 hours of rest. But chances are, you're not getting it. "Sleep issues are epidemic among women today," says Michael Breus, PhD, clinical psychologist and author of The Sleep Doctor's Diet Plan.
Not surprisingly, women tend to get less sleep than men do overall, says Marianne Legato, MD, FACP, director of the Partnership for Gender-Specific Medicine at Columbia University. Even if you don't have children, levels of sleep-promoting estrogen sink regularly during menstruation and then permanently in menopause. And symptoms related to both—cramps, headaches, hot flashes, and night sweats—also disrupt slumber.
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But experts agree that these biological facts don't mean that sleep deprivation has to be your destiny. "Feeling tired should never be considered normal," says Dr. Breus. Yet there are no stock sleep solutions, either: Finding out what works for you takes some trial and error, but it's well worth it, says Lawrence Epstein, MD, chief medical officer of Sleep HealthCenters. "Sleep is a basic biological necessity—just like eating—and it has an impact on every aspect of your health and your life," he notes.
Try these 20 ideas to find the sleep formula that works best for you.
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