Here’s why women have a higher need for sleep than men

Sleep is essential for maintaining mental, physical and emotional well-being. People are continuing to work from home amid further shutdowns and office closures. With increased pandemic-induced worry and anxiety, coupled with a lack of proper physical activity, this is having a detrimental effect not only on our mental health, but also on the quality of our sleep. However, women, especially working mothers, are the most affected because, according to experts, women need more sleep than men.

A 2014 study published in the National Library of Medicine titled Exploring Sex and Gender Differences in Sleep Health: A Society for Women’s Health Research Report found that men and women have different ideal sleep times. He further stated that “women are 40% more likely than men to suffer from insomnia and restless leg syndrome”, and that men sleep more soundly than women.

Dr. Sibasish Dey, ResMed’s medical affairs manager for Asia and Latin America, agrees with the study’s findings. In a conversation with IndianExpress.com, he explains why women need more sleep than men, the consequences of sleep deprivation, and offers advice on how women can better manage their sleep cycles.

Why do women need more sleep than men?

“Several studies have shown that due to biological differences, the sleep needs of men and women may differ slightly. How women and men spend their days is an important factor. According to research, women and men spend different amounts of time on paid and unpaid work, work and social duties, and family caregiving,” Dr Dey said. He went on to say that women sleep a bit more than men, about 11-13 minutes longer, but men sleep much deeper. Women are more likely than men to get up in the middle of the night to care for family members. Sleep is most effective when it is uninterrupted.

“Furthermore, women are more likely to nap during the day, suggesting that their total sleep time may be misleading. Napping during the day increases sleep time (number of hours spent sleeping) and makes nighttime sleep less restful,” he added.

Effects of sleep deprivation in women

Women, on average, need more sleep than men. The consequences of a poor sleep cycle are also much more serious in women than in men. According to several studies, sleep-deprived women had a higher risk of high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, heart attacks, stress, and mental health problems than sleep-deprived men. This can cause confusion, burnout, and a lack of enthusiasm, all of which negatively impact productivity. Women may also have more difficulty concentrating than men.

How much more sleep do women need compared to men?

Although sleep needs differ from person to person, studies show that women need 20-30 minutes more sleep than men to compensate for sleep loss due to their lifestyle, their fitness and health needs, tasks performed, and hormonal changes at each stage.

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