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So Much to Do, So Little Sleep
Date:6/22/2008

Many women are struggling with the health fallout caused by a lack of shuteye

SUNDAY, June 22 (HealthDay News) -- Most women don't need a survey to tell them a basic fact of female life: They're often sleep-deprived and feel too sluggish to make it through the day with vigor.

Whether they're single career women, newlyweds, new moms, single moms, empty-nesters or grandmothers, many -- if not most -- women acknowledge that they just don't get enough shut-eye.

In fact, a National Sleep Foundation survey found that 60 percent of the women polled said they only get a good night's sleep a few nights a week -- or less. And 43 percent said daytime sleepiness interferes with their daily activities.

But don't abandon hope, say two experts on women and sleep -- there are steps you can take to get back on a well-rested track.

For starters, women have to be convinced that lack of sleep is harmful, not a badge of honor. Acknowledging those harmful effects to your health can help you "respect your sleep."

"Studies now are showing that if you are sleep-deprived, you have a tendency to gain weight," said Donna Arand, director of the Sleep Disorders Center at Kettering Medical Center in Kettering, Ohio, and a spokeswoman for the American Academy of Sleep Medicine.

Sleeping less than seven hours a night is associated with a higher body mass index (a ratio of weight to height) and a higher likelihood of obesity, according to a study of more than 25,000 people published in the journal Sleep.

Other researchers looked at the results of 23 studies and found that 17 of them supported an inescapable link between insufficient sleep and increased weight. The findings were published online Jan. 17 in the journal Obesity.

But the health risks aren't limited to weight gain.

Cardiovascular problems such as high blood pressure have been linked to lack of sleep, Arand said.
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