FACT or FICTION: Do Women Need More Sleep than Men?

We all know that males and females have different physical needs. But something that not everyone is aware of is the need women have for more sleep than men. A study performed Dr. Jim Horne and the U.K Sleep Research Center found “gendered” differences in how women’s complex brain function compares to men.

“Women’s brains are wired differently, so their sleep need will be slightly greater. 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,” says Horne.  (Seriously, I’m not making this up!)

The study also found that sleeplessness strongly affects what is known as ‘higher executive function,” which is controlled by the portions of our brains responsible for intellect and decision-making, and this part of your brain also plays a major role in managing emotions and behavior.

Dr. Nagamalar Raju, internal medicine physician and sleep medicine specialist at Piedmont Healthcare mentions that hormones are likely the culprit behind unhealthy sleep in women and are more prevalent depending on what period of life they are in. Puberty, regular monthly differences in hormones all have a serious effect on women. And for older women, a greater risk of developing sleep issues is due to hormonal and physiological changes that occur.

While women need more sleep than men, many are not getting the proper amount. So for the million-dollar question: How much more sleep do women need? Horne notes that it can be as little as 20 minutes or more. So ladies, go ahead and enjoy that extra sleep!

For more on sleep, check out a couple of our blogs:



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