Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS) Healthy Sleep Hygiene and Habits

Good-quality sleep can help improve many areas of your health and can help reduce your risk of developing many chronic health conditions. However, with hectic schedules and erratic lifestyles, many people have developed sleep disorders or have trouble falling asleep.

Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) and sleep are quite closely related, as good-quality, sound sleep for 7 to 8 hours a day is strongly suggested to help improve the many symptoms of PCOS by supporting normal hormonal balance. Here’s all you need to know about the importance and benefits of getting good sleep.

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What Is Sleep Hygiene?

Sleep hygiene refers to healthy sleep habits and/or behaviours that you can practise to help you fall asleep, remain asleep throughout the night, and ensure that you get good sleep. Establishing and practising good sleep hygiene is something that is done throughout the day and helps significantly in the quality and quantity of sleep you get each night. It also helps you maintain good physical and mental health.

Why Is It Important?

We all know that getting a good night’s sleep is essential for our health, but what you may not know is that there is more to it than just hitting the hay for eight hours. Sleep hygiene is vital for ensuring that you’re getting good-quality sleep, and that means following some simple rules to make sure your sleeping environment is conducive to a restful night.

So why is sleep hygiene important? Good-quality sleep is essential for our physical and mental health. It helps us to recover from illness and injury, reduces stress levels, boosts our mood and energy levels, and supports our immune system. In short, it’s crucial for our well-being.

Poor sleep hygiene can lead to poor-quality sleep, which can have negative effects on your overall health and wellness.

Can PCOS Cause Sleep Problems?

Women with PCOS may be more prone to developing sleep apnoea, which is a serious sleep disorder that can cause you to stop breathing repeatedly. This results in sleep deprivation, exhaustion, and a lower quality of life. The risk is increased especially if you are overweight or have insulin resistance.

Sleep apnea presents itself as snoring with pauses in breathing followed by a gasp for breath and frequent, disturbed sleep. A partner may tell the person with sleep apnea that this is happening, or in some cases, the person with sleep apnoea can wake up during the night. Snoring in itself isn’t serious, but if a person is experiencing snoring along with sleep apnea, the situation can have serious complications.

There are treatments that help with sleep apnoea. Talk to your doctor if you have any concerns about how this may impact you.

Apart from sleep apnea, fatigue and mood disorders can also contribute to sleep problems.

Health Benefits of Getting Quality, Deep Sleep

We all know that getting a good night’s sleep is important for our overall health and well-being. But it’s also important to know that getting good-quality, deep sleep can help improve the symptoms of PCOS.

Studies have shown that getting deep sleep can help regulate insulin levels, which can in turn help reduce the risk of developing diabetes. Additionally, deep sleep can help reduce inflammation throughout the body, which can help alleviate some of the symptoms associated with PCOS.

Additionally, during deep sleep, glucose metabolism increases in the brain, thus supporting and enhancing short-term and long-term memory along with overall learning. During deep sleep, the pituitary gland secretes important hormones like the growth hormone that helps in the growth and development of the body.

Some other important benefits of deep sleep include:

  • Cell regeneration
  • Increased blood supply to muscles
  • Enhanced growth and repair of bones and tissues
  • Stronger immune system
  • Increased energy and energy restoration

What Happens When You Don’t Get Enough Rest?

Lack of rest can lead to several health issues, including impaired memory, lack of alertness, excessive sleepiness during the day, increased mood swings, and trouble concentrating.

Continuing without enough sleep for a long period of time (weeks, months, or years) puts you at risk for chronic health conditions like high blood pressure, diabetes, and cardiac diseases, including stroke.

For most people, blood pressure falls at night, and this plays an important role in maintaining cardiovascular health. With nighttime or nocturnal blood pressure dipping, your blood pressure drops by 10% to 15%. But those who have poor sleep schedules or have conditions like sleep apnoea or insomnia can have non-dipping. This means that their blood pressure does not go down at night. Elevated nighttime blood pressure over time is linked to hypertension, increased risk of heart attack, and stroke.

Other potential health issues related to sleep apnoea include a weakened immune system, depression, obesity, and reduced libido.

Having chronic sleep issues, working late night or having erratic sleep schedules can increase the level of cortisol hormone (also known as stress hormone). Chronically elevated levels of cortisol are linked to many health conditions such as weight gain, hyperglycemia (increased blood sugar levels), inflammation and high blood pressure.

How to Fix Your Sleep Schedule

A fixed sleep routine helps normalise sleep as an essential part of your day and helps your brain and body become accustomed to getting sufficient amounts of sleep in a consistent pattern.

We have several suggestions for how you can fix your sleep schedule.

- Have a fixed time for sleeping and waking up.

Whether it’s a weekday or a weekend, try to go to sleep and get up at the same time every day. A fluctuating sleep schedule will prevent you from getting into a consistent rhythm of sleep and will reduce the benefits you receive from sleeping.

- Prioritise your sleep.

Skipping your sleep because of work or any other reason is not advisable, because sleep is as important to your body as food and water! Try to stick to a set bedtime and make sure you complete your work and routine activities by then.

- Put away those devices.

Blue light emitted from gadgets or screens is known to hamper your circadian rhythm. Try switching off all devices at least 1 hour before bedtime and instead focus on practising relaxation techniques to help your body ease into sleep.

- Naps are good — but only when few and short.

Naps can be a very effective way of regaining your energy during the day, but they can also throw off your sleep at night. Keep your naps as short and infrequent as possible to get a good, deep sleep at night.

Consistency is the most important factor in fixing your sleep schedule. It helps your body get accustomed to a sleep routine, and your body benefits from sleep accordingly. Irregularities in your sleeping schedule can cause you to feel lethargic and irritated throughout the day.

Cultivating daily healthy habits like working out, eating right, avoiding smoking and drinking, and meditation can contribute to sound sleep. Additionally, being in calming surroundings like a clean bedroom can greatly improve sleep quality.

Talk to a PCOS Professional

If you have been diagnosed with PCOS or are facing any of its symptoms and are having trouble sleeping, there is a possibility that your sleep issues are induced by your PCOS.

A PCOS expert will help address your concerns more precisely to ensure you get good sleep, which will help improve your symptoms in turn.

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Sleep issues can be due to many things, including PCOS. Whether you have PCOS or not, it is important to seek proper treatment to regulate your sleep cycle. If you are facing trouble with sleep and are showing unexplained symptoms like weight gain, irregular periods, excess facial hair, acne or scalp hair loss, speak to our experts at Veera to understand the root cause of your symptoms.