Sleep, we all need it. Men, women, and everyone outside of the binary need sleep in order to live happy healthy lives. But are there any differences in how much sleep we need? Or how we sleep in general? We are going to answer these questions and many more, as we go over whether or not sleep is different for men and women.
Do Men & Women Need Different Amounts Of Sleep?
There are studies that have documented that women generally need more sleep then men in order to experience full sleep satisfaction. While no one is certain as to the exact reasoning why there is speculation that women may have more brain activity throughout the day. And because of this they may need more sleep, especially deep sleep, to recoup.
Though it is recommended that both men and women get about 7-8 hours of sleep a night, it is suggested that an added 20+ minutes can help a female feel more rested. Regardless of gender sleep plays a vital role to overall health and making sure you get an adequate amount for your personal needs is always key.
Differences Between Male & Female Circadian Rhythms:
It is commonly believed that women’s circadian rhythm kicks in earlier than men’s do. Leading to falling asleep earlier and often times waking up earlier as well. Keep in mind that this is generally true.
However nearly all of these observations are general and not true for all people. You may find that in your home it is the men who wake up earlier and go to bed early. While the women stay up and sleep in later.
This is going to change greatly with external influences like jobs and other duties as well. As this means you are no longer relying on your circadian rhythm to wake you up and put you to sleep.
While some of these below points are just a part of life more than complications, they are more gender specific. Meaning at various points in your life your sleep may be affected more from a biological or hormonal standpoint just because you are male or female. Though some of these will affect both men and women, they may do so differently.
The best way is to understand how these complications may affect your sleep and meet them head on. Being prepared is the best way to ensure you get adequate rest and sleep with little to no complications.
Snoring & Sleep Apnea –
While many people snore, it is predominately skewed toward men. Especially when snoring progresses to Sleep Apnea. Men are two to three times more likely to have sleep apnea than women. It can be incredibly disruptive to sleep for the person with sleep apnea and their sleep partners.
As more studies come out Restless Leg Syndrome is becoming increasingly obvious that it is more common for women. It has not be determined as to why restless leg syndrome is more common for women, but it may have something to do with lack of vitamins or minerals due to menstruation.
Regardless, RLS can put a damper on sleep and really start to cause disruptions that can occur at any time of the night. Making it uncomfortable, but also wake you from a deep state of rest that may be hard to fall back to sleep from.
Sleep studies done with children before puberty often show little to no differences in sleep patterns. This is one of the many reasons why sleep studies are beginning to focus more and more on hormones. During and after puberty is when you will begin to notice some shifts in patterns and habits.
Puberty itself involves a lot of growing, changing, and development. Which is why teens are so tired all of the time. Consider this fact the next time you yell at you teen to wake up and stop being lazy. (Although the late nights on the internet might also be adding to their sleepiness.)
That time of the month is no fun, however many of the common PMS symptoms that can effect your sleep actually occur the week before your period begins. Brain fog and lethargy are common before your period begins. Giving you less restful slumber.
While the week of your period can bring on its own disruptions. Migraines and cramps are also common and cause less ideal sleep during menstruation. You also may feel sluggish, bloated and overall uncomfortable. Which means laying around may seem more appealing, which doesn’t necessarily mean your sleep.
Yet another case of big changes in hormone production. During pregnancy there are many changes to the body that can have an effect on sleep. Hormones, blood pressure, general discomfort, nausea, sweating, anxiety, insomnia, fatigue… Pregnancy can really make it difficult to get the rest you need.
With so a big process your body is going through, there are many different complications that can occur that can make it harder for you to get sleep. Not to mention how these discomforts and set backs change frequently over those nine months. However, there are many different ways you can find comfort and sleep.
Women who are going through menopause often struggle with symptoms at night. Insomnia tends to rank up during this time as well as symptoms like hot flashes that can make it uncomfortable to sleep.
Studies are beginning to take a closer look at hormones and their relationship to sleep and different sleep related illnesses. For instance menopause is a significant shift in hormones for women. It is also noted that after menopause women are much more likely to experience sleep apnea.
Now sleep apnea is also commonly associated with obesity and post-menopausal women also tend to gain weight. When so many different things are linked together it can truly become a chicken or the egg situation.
Studies have shown that women are twice as likely to experience insomnia than men. Although, plenty of men struggle with insomnia on a regular basis. Other factors seem to have a greater impact on whether or not you will experience insomnia than your sex.
For instance, depression and other mood disorders can greatly increase the likelihood of you experiencing insomnia. Far more than simply being female will. Regardless, insomnia can be a long term or short term complication that can really impact your sleep and sanity.
Is Sleep Different For Men & Women?
Overall there are more differences in things that will deter or impact the quality of sleep, than their actual sleep in general. For the most part all people, no matter their sex, needs sleep and generally sleeps in the same way.
While there is a study out there by Dr. Jim Horne that says women generally need 20 minutes of sleep more than men in order to feel like that are fully rested. This is such a minuscule number when it comes to 6-8 hours of sleep. As humans, our habits and lifestyles vary so drastically that it is impossible to be accurate when making these statements to cover all women and all men. However, we hope these generic observations have been enlightening.