Women need more sleep than men. No, really; no matter how you spin it, research shows that men and women are biologically designed to need different amounts of sleep.
Current research shows that women need an average of twenty to thirty minutes more of sleep each night than men. And while women need more sleep, research also shows that most women aren’t getting the rest they need.
Sleep is essential to a woman’s wellbeing. Understanding why they need more sleep and why many women are missing out one needed rest is paramount. But why do women need that extra sleep? And is this claim even true?
The National Sleep Foundation recommends that young adults and adults aged 26 to 64 years get between 7 and 9 hours of sleep a day. The average older adult (over 64 years) needs to get between 7 and 8 hours of sleep a day. Teenagers require around 9 to 10 hours while school-aged kids and preschoolers need even more. But as research is now uncovering, there may be more to your sleep needs than just your age. Gender too can be important when it comes to determining how much sleep is enough for you. And yes, this seems to be a battle women win hands down!
Women are said to require an average of 20 minutes more sleep than men. But what makes the fairer sex need more time in bed? As it turns out, it is a combination of the need for more minutes of sleep and the higher degree of poor sleep women experience compared to men. The latter results in a need for women to play catch up – for the sleep lost or disturbed due to various reasons.
So here are the 8 reasons:
1. Greater Mental Energy Used
Women of the world may rejoice! Sleep experts like the National Sleep Foundation now say that the additional mental energy exerted by women necessitates this additional sleep. According to them, women make use of a greater amount of their brains and also multitask more. This consumes more mental energy. Consequently, when it comes to rejuvenating the brain during sleep, there’s more recovery that’s needed.
2. Poorer Sleep
Another reason a woman needs to sleep a little more is that, often, the quality of sleep they’re getting isn’t as good. Certain life stages and physiological changes make women more susceptible to less restful sleep. In fact, women are said to be more prone to insomnia and poor sleep in adulthood. In one poll conducted by the National Sleep Foundation, a whopping 63 percent of women said they experienced some form of insomnia every week.
During the course of perimenopause through menopause, a woman’s ovaries gradually decrease the production of estrogen and progesterone, a sleep-promoting hormone. The shifting of ratios of hormones can be an unsettling process, sometimes contributing to the inability to fall asleep. Also, waning levels of estrogen may make you more susceptible to environmental and other factors/stressors which disrupt sleep.
Many women also report feeling extremely fatigued during pregnancy, especially during the first and third trimesters. Considering the physical and emotional demands of pregnancy and the prevalence of sleep disorders among pregnant women, it’s no wonder that expectant mothers become so tired. One of the reasons for fatigue and sleep problems during pregnancy are changing hormone levels. For example, rising progesterone levels may partly explain excessive daytime sleepiness, especially in the first trimester.
.5. Menstrual Cycle
Even just being a woman past puberty is enough to mess with your sleep. Cramps in the abdomen, discomfort, mood swings, and food cravings all combine to make for a restless night of sleep. Women with premenstrual syndrome are reported to have non-restorative sleep, frequent awakenings, poor sleep quality, and insomnia.
6. Restless Leg Syndrome
Restless legs syndrome causes an uncontrollable urge to move the legs, with symptoms worsening in the evening and night. As a result, sleep for someone with the problem is highly disturbed. According to research, women are more likely to have restless leg syndrome. There is said to be a link between female hormones and this neurological movement disorder.
7. Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS)
Women with PCOS are more susceptible to obstructive sleep apnea, a condition in which your upper airway gets blocked, causing you to start and stop breathing through the night. You may snore as a result and may experience disturbed sleep.
8. Secondary Insomnia Triggers
Certain disorders or ailments also make you more likely to develop insomnia as a side effect or associated symptom. Unfortunately, a fair number of these are more common in women – like anxiety, depression, or fibromyalgia.