12 Legit Reasons Why Women DO Need More Sleep Than Men.
There are so many things to get through the day; from getting yourself and the family ready in the morning, going to work, commuting, making dinner, and a plethora of other things that may or may not be completed on the same day.
Despite healthy eating, exercise, and coffee, women still complaint of being too tired. Men, on the other hand, can have the same list of things to do but still manage to stay up late and wake up fully rested.
As it turns out, it may not be because women are smaller or of a more delicate make-up but rather because we are constantly using our brains. "Women’s brains are wired differently from men’s and are more complex, so their sleep need will be slightly greater," says Professor Jim Horne, director of Loughborough University’s Sleep Research Centre in the United Kingdom.
"For women, poor sleep is strongly associated with high levels of psychological distress and greater feelings of hostility, depression, and anger," explains Horne.
He explains how in “contrast, these feelings were not associated with the same degree of sleep disruption in men.”
All the thinking, decision-making, multitasking, among other things, take a toll.
“The more of your brain you use during the day, the more of it that needs to recover and, consequently, the more sleep you need,” says Horne. “Women tend to multi-task – they do lots at once and are flexible – and so they use more of their actual brain than men do.”
That's not to say this rule does not apply to men either.
“A man who has a complex job that involves a lot of decision making and lateral thinking may also need more sleep than the average male,” he says. “Though probably still not as much as a woman.”
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Sleep is needed to allow the brain to recover and repair itself.
Horne, who is also the author of Sleepfaring: A Journey Through The Science Of Sleep, says that the cortex goes into recovery mode during deep sleep. The cortex part of the brain is responsible for memory, language, thought, and other functions.
Depending on the individual you may need six to eight hours of sleep every night.
“What is important is that people have enough sleep to ensure they do not feel excessively sleepy in the day,” explains Horne.
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An average 75-year-old woman has the age of a 70-year-old male in terms of brain.
"We are unsure why. The fact that a woman's brain tends to get more time to relax and repair itself may explain it," Horne points out.
Although, suggesting to get more sleep may be easier said than done.
According to the American Academy Of Sleep Medicine, women suffer from sleep problems. From aches and pains while pregnant, nursing and feedings during the night, menopause, and a snoring partner, are just some of the reasons women are not sleeping well.
But how much more sleep does a woman really need?
According to Horne, the average is 20 minutes. This may differ for women with some needing more time and others requiring less.
A Dutch study last year found that women are underestimating the amount of sleep they are getting.
"People will tell you they get only five hours' sleep a night," says Horne. "Yet if you question them further, they tell you they have an hour's nap in the afternoon, which puts them up to six hours. That is probably fine for most people."
Taking a nap during the day may be the solution to feel rested.
"That's how Mrs Thatcher used to survive, though in times of crisis she used to make do with four hours," Horne points out. "Winston Churchill was the same. He famously slept only four hours a night, but used to have two-hour siestas every day."
Horne points out that the most important, refreshing type of sleep is during the deep sleep which occurs fairly early in the night.
As the night progresses sleep gets lighter and women are more sensitive to wake up from a noise.
Horne doesn't want people to worry if they have a bad night of no sleep. This doesn't equate to sleeping 14 hours the next night.
"It is only the deep, refreshing sleep that you need to catch up on, so you need to try to recoup only about a third to a half of what you missed," he says.
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