Do Women Need More Sleep Than Men?

7 to 9 hours of sleep is generally recommended for all adults

Shubhangi Shah
Written by: Shubhangi ShahUpdated at: Jan 21, 2022 16:28 IST
Do Women Need More Sleep Than Men?

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The sleeping pattern changes throughout a person’s lifetime. However, 7 to 9 hours of sleep is generally recommended for adults. But, have you ever wondered if there is a gender bias to this? Whether women need more sleep than men or vice versa? As per a study published on the USA’s National Library of Medicine’s website, women sleep longer than men, 11 minutes to be specific. What are the reasons behind it? Also, since sleep deprivation can be detrimental to health, what are the ways to get sound sleep? We’ll look at these one by one.

Why Do Women Need More Sleep Than Men?

As per research, women need more sleep than men. There can be multiple reasons behind it:

Increased Risk Of Insomnia, Other Sleep-Related Issues

Women are at 40% higher risk of developing insomnia than men, as per a 2014 study. It could be one of the reasons for women catching up on a few minutes of extra sleep. They are also more prone to sleep apnea. During pregnancy, they also experience restless leg syndrome, which could explain the few more minutes of sleep.

Hormonal Fluctuations

Women need more sleep than men

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Throughout their lives, women undergo hormonal changes several times

  • While PMSing, many women experience sleep disturbances.
  • Menstrual cramps, bloating, fatigue, etc, during menstruation also affect sleep.
  • During pregnancy, a woman undergoes major hormonal changes. Frequent urination, restless leg syndrome, aches, and pains, are common. This also affects sleep.
  • Similarly, during menopause, she experiences hot flashes and/or night sweats, which too affect her sleep considerably.

Caregiving, Unpaid Labour

Also, the responsibility of caregiving falls disproportionately on women as compared to men. They tend to wake up to take care of the child or a family member. It could be another reason for them catching up on 11 minutes of extra sleep.

Other Views

Research suggests that women are more likely to nap than men. It might make the extra sleeping time inference misleading as this doesn’t add up to night’s sleep. Also, due to napping during the day, the nighttime sleep gets less restful. However, studies into gender differences in sleeping time have called for more research into this topic. 

Also read: How Getting More Sunlight Can Help You With Better Sleep

How Much Sleep Do You Need?

The amount of sleep a person needs depends on his/her age. A newly born infant sleeps for over 14 hours a day, but this gradually decreases as the person ages. Kids also tend to sleep for more than nine hours. For adults, it’s generally recommended that they should get somewhere between seven to nine hours of sleep. This further reduces as the person ages.

How To Get Good Quality Sleep?

7 to 9 hours of sleep is recommended

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Along with the hours, the quality of sleep is also crucial. Although some of the factors, such as medical issues, might be beyond your control. However, there are some of the things that you can do to get a restful and sound sleep.

  • Proper Sleep-Wake Time: Sleep and wake up at the same time every day. This helps your body to know when it’s time to go to bed and wake up, which helps you with qualitative sleep.
  • Proper Environment: Make your bedroom environment such that it’s conducive for sleeping. Make it cool, dark, and noise-free. These generally help you with restful sleep.
  • Avoid Stimulants: Caffeine is a stimulant that keeps you awake and alert. Hence, avoid tea and coffee close to your bedtime. Also, avoid having heavy meals close to your bedtime. 
  • Avoid Screen: Avoid any kind of screen, be it that of your smartphone, TV, or laptop. All these devices emit blue light, which disrupts sleep.
  • Bedtime Routine: Many people develop a bedtime routine, activities that help unwind at the end of the day. This routine might consist of activities like Yoga, meditation, reading, etc, which help you unwind and relax. And once relaxed, you’re ready for a good night’s sleep.  

Having proper sleep is one of the pillars of a good lifestyle. And your lifestyle determines your health as well as the quality of your life. Hence, follow the above-mentioned tips and catch up on some zzz.

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