Now, both men and women need a good night’s rest for all the health benefits that it provides. But research tells us that women may need more sleep than men and that women do, in fact, sleep slightly more than men. 11 minutes more, to be precise. The big question is why?
Why do women need to sleep more than men?
There are several reasons why women need more sleep than men. There are behavioural and biological factors, and we discuss them below:
1. Women are more at risk of sleep disorders
Women, for instance, are 40 percent more likely to suffer from insomnia. They are also more at risks of anxiety and depression, which have strong correlations with insomnia. Additionally, pregnant women are typically more likely to suffer from restless leg syndrome (RLS), which makes it difficult for them to fall asleep.
Pain and incontinence disrupt their sleep as well. Menopause can also increase the risk of sleep apnea. People with this disorder frequently experience pauses in breathing, which can adversely affect the quality of their sleep, regardless of whether they wake up in the middle of the night.
Consequently, women with sleep apnea may feel tired and sleepy during the day and wake up less refreshed.
2. Unpaid work is more prevalent among women
Women spend less time working and more time on unpaid labour, such as caring for their families and cleaning their homes, according to a 2013 study. Being out of the workforce enables women to get more sleep as less sleep is associated with employment.
Female hormones also play a significant role in the fact that women sleep more than men. Women undergo several hormonal changes throughout their lifetime, which affect their sleep-wake cycle.
As a result, their need for sleep increases. Menstruation, for example, causes cramps, headaches, and bloating for approximately one-third of women. Therefore, they report excessive daytime sleepiness, tiredness, and fatigue.
Hot flashes, for example, are experienced by up to 85 percent of women during menopause. These events cause women to wake up sweating in the night, disrupting their sleep.
4. Differences in Ideologies
Some suggest that women sleep more than men for ideological reasons. However, women are generally less likely to take risks than men, which may psychologically allow them to make more time for sleep than men.
What have scientists found out about the sleep differences in men and women?
The research is not exactly straightforward about the sleep differences between men and women. However, while women do sleep more than men, it also appears that the quality of sleep that women enjoy is less than men.
Also, studies have demonstrated that men and women spend different amounts of time in the different stages of sleep. The stages of sleep are generally divided into light sleep, deep sleep, and REM (Rapid Eye Movement) sleep.
Research shows that women spend more time in deep sleep than men. However, the situation changes when women enter menopause and have a harder time falling asleep and sleeping deep than men.
There is also the fact that demographic differences may affect the length of sleep among both genders. For example, both men and women with children sleep a little more than their childless counterparts, whether they are married or not.
Are you getting enough sleep?
The fundamental way to answer this question is to determine the recommended amount of sleep for your age. Here is a list of the expected sleep range for every age grade:
- Newborns (0-3 months): They need 14 to 17 hours of sleep.
- Infants (4-11 months): They need 12 to 15 hours of sleep.
- Toddlers (1-2 years): They need 11 to 14 hours of sleep.
- Preschoolers (3-5 years): They need 10 to 13 hours of sleep time.
- School-age (Pre-teenagers) (6-13 years): They need 9 to 11 hours of sleep
- Teenagers (14-17 years): They need 8 to 10 hours of sleep.
- Young adults (18-25 years): They need 7 to 9 hours of sleep.
- Adults (26-64): This category needs 7 to 9 hours of sleep.
- Older adults (65 years and above): They need 7 to 8 hours of sleep.
In general, these hours apply, but there are rare instances where individuals may have to take them outside the time recommended for their ages. These instances are usually medical. Therefore, when determining how much sleep you need, you should consider all aspects of your health. To aid in this assessment, a few questions have been suggested, including:
- Does any particular disease pose a high risk for you?
- How much energy do you expend during the day? Do you engage in physical activity?
- How busy is your schedule? Do you drive every day? Are you involved in heavy machinery? Are you required to maintain high alertness daily?
- Do you have sleep issues like sleep deprivation?
5 tips to help get better sleep
Your sleep quantity and quality can be traced to the quality of your sleep hygiene and sleep habits. If you want to enjoy quality sleep, take note of the following:
1. Maintain a consistent sleep and waking schedule. To do so means getting to bed and getting up at the same time every day. Weekends included.
2. Relax before going to bed. Take a hot bath, read a book, and have a deep breathing session or a meditation session. The important thing is that relaxing helps you sleep better.
3. Be careful about what you eat and drink before bedtime. For instance, caffeine before bed can lead to poor sleep. Also, try not to eat for at least 3 hours before you go to bed. Alcohol before bed is also generally a bad idea.
4. Take some time to exercise. Exercise can help you sleep more easily as long as you don't exercise right before bed. It also reduces sleep and anxiety.
5. Create a conducive sleeping environment. You can improve your sleep environment by using items such as blackout blinds, bedding, and a comfortable mattress to ensure a quiet, dark, and comfortable room.
Let us help
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