The American playwright Wilson Mizner was quoted in saying that “the amount of sleep required by the average person is five minutes more,” and I think we’ve all stayed in bed for five minutes more than our alarms at some point.
Our body is designed to cap off a day with rest; this is the reason why we always yearn for more sleep whenever we feel tired and when our bodies feel spent.
There are surprising studies that show that women actually do need a little more sleep than men. In this article, we look at how much more sleep women require and why they need the extra time of snoozing.
How much more sleep do women need?
A study conducted by Dr. Jim Horne, a neuroscientist and former director of the Loughborough University Sleep Research Centre, found that women need at least 20 more minutes of sleep on average when compared to men.
The study was conducted with 210 male and female participants, and their sleeping patterns were observed during the research process.
Another study by Sarah Burgard and Jennifer Ailshire suggests that women actually do sleep longer on average, by 11 minutes.
Why do women need more sleep?
The need for more sleep in women is based on multiple factors; their day-to-day activities, the hormones, and their general physiological makeup.
Women have more active brains
Women are natural multi-taskers; they tend to handle more thoughts, tasks, and ideas simultaneously, which leads to women experiencing more fatigue. It also leads to them taking on more household mental load in a relationship, which can cause stress and more fatigue.
The extra work of the actual brain when it comes to multitasking can drain a woman more in terms of emotional, mental, and physical fatigue.
Being more tired and fatigued is the main reason why women need extra sleep in contrast to their male counterparts.Adding in at least 20 minutes more to their sleep time would allow them to get better quality of sleep and would let them function better the following day.
Different genetic makeup
Hormones play a huge part in our ability to get good sleep; any hormonal imbalances can throw off our sleepiness, leading to a lack of sleep.
On average, a person requires 8 full hours of sleep, but it becomes a difficult task for a woman who is experiencing shifts in her hormones.
The effects of hormonal changes are more apparent in older women, especially when nearing the age of menopause.Menopause affects the production of progesterone, a hormone that helps women feel more relaxed and can lead to better sleep. 85% of women in menopause also experience hot flashes, which can keep them up at night.
Likewise, hormonal changes during menstrual cycles can also affect a woman’s ability to sleep. The changes in estrogen production can cause cramps and headaches, affecting the sleep cycle.
Sleeping problems that aren’t addressed from the onset can progress into sleep disorders, leading to significantly less sleep.
Women have a higher risk of heart disease
Generally speaking, sleeplessness can lead a person to a higher risk of heart disease, but genetic factors in women make them more susceptible to this risk.
Apart from heart disease, women’s constant sleep loss can also lead to other systemic problems such as Type-II diabetes.
A good way to keep your health at bay is to get enough sleep every night and avoid nighttime activities that contribute to poor sleep.
Higher prevalence of mental health concerns
Women are twice as likely to experience anxiety and depression compared to men, two conditions that can cause sleep deprivation and even insomnia.
It can also go both ways where women can experience psychological distress from not getting enough hours of sleep, which can affect general mood and wellbeing.
Time to let the ladies sleep in
Having the right amount of sleep does amazing things – not only for our body’s ability to repair and recover itself but also for our emotional and mental wellbeing.
Always practise good bedroom and sleep hygiene for you to get the most hours of sleep in a day.