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Redefining women’s future together

Redefining women’s future together

 

International women’s day always catches my attention. Not sure if it’s a matter of interest or maybe doubt. While I totally get the incentive of creating such an international day in the beginning (you know, in times when us, women, needed a day to raise awareness we deserve equality), during these last years I was wondering what purpose is served by this day. 

Therefore, I did the thing I do best - research. It appears that although women’s right to vote became more common around the world, there are other fields in which women’s rights are left behind, maybe rights is not the accurate word but at least privileges. 

When it comes to wellness and health, the common approach remains men-derived. Different health issues are defined in relation to men’s health, research is more focused on the male population, new solutions and features promoting one’s health - are directed more at men than at women. 

First, let’s start by mentioning the obvious: women’s health is different from men’s health. Our bodies are not identical, our systems work differently, our needs are not so similar and therefore there is a need for custom-made solutions, at least for the two different genders we approach here. Oh, and surely I’ll refer a lot to sleep, so don’t be caught surprised, ha? 

The quality of sleep in women plays a key role in a variety of body systems including the endocrine system, the cardiovascular system, the reproductive system, the neurological system and more. 

Endocrinologicaly speaking, sleep holds a significant sway over hormonal balance. Women’s hormonal fluctuations are complicated and more intense than those of men, therefore the balance itself is very sensitive. Changes in the hormonal balance impact directly on the menstrual cycle through progesterone and estrogen, and indirectly on cognitive functions and digestion components. Thus, changes in one’s sleep quality can be followed by changes in mood, appetite, concentration capacity, etc. Like many other good relationships, it goes both ways. Have trouble sleeping? Your hormones will tell. Have imbalanced hormones? Your sleep will surely tell. For women with a diagnosed hormonal imbalance, improvement in the quality of sleep should be top priority treatment, along with other common practices. 

It’s no news that our bodies regenerate during sleep. Therefore it shouldn’t be surprising that the reproductive system, which is based on regeneration of cells and tissues, is extremely sensitive to changes in the quality of sleep and insufficient sleep. Different sleeping patterns have been shown to be associated with menstrual irregularities, reduced fertility and adverse pregnancy outcomes. The female fertility system relies on the circadian rhythm more than one can imagine, so that the timing of sleep (during the night) and the activity time during the day should be respected in one’s day to day routine. 

Last but most certainly not least, when it comes to navigating in the maze of neurons quality sleep seizes to appear as luxury and begins to sound essential. The capability of one’s brain to conduct new connections successfully, to maintain existing functions, to achieve learning processes, and to get rid of unneeded ones - all depends on sleep. But that’s not special for women rather than men. The real difference arises when combining the hormonal fluctuations with neurological functions, because, as mentioned earlier, women experience more fluctuations and changes which are also influencing brain activities. Simple phrasing would be that good cognitive function is harder to achieve in women who suffer from insufficient sleep rather than men of the same condition.

On top of all, I would like to add my own perspective on this subject. Many of us women were taught to show no vulnerability, not to complain, and to achieve the best possible outcomes regardless of given circumstances. While I appreciate this approach and thankful for the outcomes it brought me over the years, I feel like many of us need this international women’s day as a reminder that being human is one of our greatest strengths. Medicine will not change if we give up on being patients, the wellness industry won’t change unless it will be known that women are more than half of the potential clients crowd. Our voice should be heard also in times of struggle and need, and together we can choose to actually make a change.

 

Wishing you the best health, the ideal well-being, and the ultimate night’s sleep

elvy.ai

 

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