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Pregnancy, hot flashes keep women awake, research says

Ronit Rubin says sleeping while she was pregnant with her daughter was difficult
CNN's Linda Ciampa explains the new sleep study
Windows Media 28K 56K
October 22, 1998
Web posted at: 1:26 p.m. EDT (1726 GMT)

From Food & Health Correspondent Linda Ciampa

ATLANTA (CNN) -- A new survey confirms what many woman have long suspected -- menstruation, pregnancy and menopause can interfere with a good night's sleep.

While past studies have shown that women have more insomnia than men, a recent survey from the National Sleep Foundation shows half of all women have trouble sleeping two and a half days during their menstrual cycle.

"What was surprising to me was the degree to which this interfered with daytime functioning," said Thomas Roth, Director of the Sleep Disorders & Research Center at Detroit's Henry Ford Hospital. "The fact that this leads to significant daytime napping-- the fact is that one third of all women have actually dozed off while driving their cars."

Almost 80 percent of pregnant women said their sleep is more disturbed over the course of their pregnancy than any other time.

Tips to get
a good night's sleep
  • Be consistent - go to bed and get up at the same time every day
  • Avoid alcohol, caffeine and nicotine late in the day
  • Exercise early in the afternoon, but not right before bedtime
  • Don't nap unless you are profoundly tired
  • Give yourself time to wind down at night

More than a third of menopausal or post-menopausal women suffer hot flashes during sleep.

Ronit Rubin said she didn't expect to get much sleep once her daughter arrived, but was surprised that sleeping during her pregnancy was so tough.

"I'd wake up around two in the morning and basically my routine was to go watch television for a couple of hours," she said.

While researchers say they don't know exactly what disturbs sleep in women at different life stages, they say it is still a serious problem that can affect everything from the ability to work to ability to drive.

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