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Do Women Need More Sleep Than Men

Update Date: Aug 22, 2019 02:51 PM EDT
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Sleep is an important part of a healthy individual's life. The processes that happen when we are in "idle state" regulate our internal systems, promote healing, and cover toxin elimination and processing to maintain the body in perfect functioning condition.

But recent research suggests that sleep has a crucial role in mental health and optimal brain functioning as well. Sleep-deprived people are less productive, focus with more difficulty, and are more prone to depression and other mental problems.

While research is still ongoing, we know enough to start asking questions about sleep quality and quantity. There are now teams of researchers looking into the factors that influence the quality, but also the length of  healthy good night sleep.

Findings show that, as we go through life, the length of a sleep cycle changes. Also, there are differences between males and females, people with various levels of activity (mental and physical), and more.

Sleep for Women vs. Sleep for Men

Men and women are members of the same species, but we are not built the same. As we moved out of the cave and into the ultra-modern homes of today's societies, our brain evolved a bit differently. Of course, the structure and functioning of the brain are also influenced by the hormones that guide our lives, which, in turn, are influenced by the way we sleep. This is similar to how men and women have different nutritional needs. For example, if you're looking to build muscle and using whey protein, the recommendation is 25 grams daily for women versus 50 grams for men.

According to Dr. Jim Horne, Britain's leading expert in sleep science, one of these differences between males and females shows up in the amount of sleep we need. On average, women need 20 minutes more sleep than men to feel rested and ready for a new day of challenges.

His research shows that the female brain is more active throughout the day, which is why it requires an extra 20 minutes to recharge. This activity is due to women being more efficient multitaskers than men, which drains more energy from the system.

Furthermore, sleep deprivation has stronger effects on women than it has on men. According to the director of the Sleep Research Center, women who sleep poorly suffer from high levels of psychological distress, depression, anger, and have greater feelings of hostility. The same feelings were not registered in men who sleep poorly.

Factors That Influence Sleep Quality & Quantity

Nowadays, it's rather easy to monitor sleep quality using specific devices. As a result, we have enough data (with new sets pouring in daily) to understand why a healthy individual can't sleep as well and long as they want.

As it turns out, the main factors that influence the way we sleep are in our bedroom. Starting with your bed and ending with the devices we keep in the room everything can be a factor. For example, according to this guide, your mattress is crucial in regulating your body temperature, comfort, and sleep position so finding the right mattress is key to getting the best sleep. 

Also, the quantity of light that enters your bedroom can disturb sleep quality and length, so specialists recommend heavy curtains to block sunlight and reduce noise. Devices are a factor as well (TVs, smartphones, computers, tablets, and so on), as the light from their screens can be upsetting.

  • Furthermore, when it comes to women vs. men, the first camp has some additional factors to keep them awake at night:

  • Pregnancy - comfortable sleep is a luxury during advanced pregnancy months, but some expecting mothers have troubles from the beginning;

  • Menopause - hot flashes, sweating, and other symptoms have a strong influence on sleep quality;

  • The partner moving around in bed - men are generally larger than women, so when they turn in bed, they can disturb their partners. This can be solved with a mattress that's engineered for such cases.

  • Anxiety - women are more prone to worry about a plethora of things, which does not lead to healthy sleep habits.

Do Women Use their Brain More than Men?

Because men and women's brains are wired differently, certain processes may require more energy than others. Furthermore, research seems to suggest that women are more flexible when it comes to performing several tasks at once, while men are more task-oriented.

As a result, a woman can feel more drained after a day of work or taking care of the children.

Of course, this doesn't mean that men don't use their brain just as much. It's just that there are differences in the way energy levels are being processed and consumed. And, according to the research we have right now, women should spend a bit more time snoozing than men.

However, when it comes to sleep quantity and quality, it's not always easy to make things better.

Wrap Up

The research seems to show that women need more sleep than men. However, in today's stressful world, both men and women suffer from sleep deprivation, and the results are worrisome.

Mental health issues are on the rise, especially in civilized countries, and more and more people have depressive episodes. And they can all be tied, in one way or another, to poor sleep quality.  

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