Differences In Sleep Between Genders
Men may be from Mars and women from Venus, but do we sleep on different planets as well? Historically, the majority of sleep studies have been disproportionally focused on men leaving significant knowledge gaps in research and a lack of awareness among the research community. However, over the past few decades, researchers have begun to focus on gender-based sleep differences and the results are surprising.
Sex differences exist in sleep quality, duration, and latency (how long it takes to fall asleep).
Distinct hormonal and physical changes at specific times like puberty, pregnancy, and menopause, during a woman’s lifespan can impact her sleep health and lead to gender-specific clinical disorders.
In general women:
Need more sleep
On average women require 20 more minutes of sleep than men do. Sleep is the time when the brain regenerates and as women multitask and use more of their brains throughout the day, they need more of it.
Experience more sleep troubles
About 15 percent of women report having sleep troubles, versus only eight percent of men.
Don’t handle sleep deprivation well
Women report more anger, depression, and hostility than men when they don’t get enough sleep.
Women are more likely to be “early birds” and men are more likely to be “night owls.” This may be due to differences in circadian rhythm wherein women have shorter circadian cycle lengths, on average, than men. While most circadian rhythms aren’t exactly 24 hours long, women’s internal clocks are usually a few minutes shorter giving them earlier circadian timing, leading to a tendency to both go to bed and wake up earlier.
It’s important to remember that sleep varies considerably from person to person and is affected by a wide range of factors. Regardless of gender, it’s recommended that healthy adults get seven to nine hours of sleep for optimum mental and physical performance.
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