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Do Women or Men Require More Sleep?

Catharine Willett April 29, 2016 0 comments 0

[su_dropcap style=”default” size=”3″ class=””]H[/su_dropcap]ealth experts recommend an average of seven to nine hours of sleep a night. However, does this recommendation extend to both men and women equally? New research has indicated in some cases yes and in others no.

Dr. Jim Horne, a renown British sleep scientist, explains that women actually require a few more minutes of sleep than men. Specifically, women require approximately 20 extra minutes of sleep.

Sleep allows for the brain to recover from a strenuous day and consolidate new information. The prefrontal cortex, where memory, language, and decision-making are regulated, switches to recovery mode. The more sleep an individual obtains, the stronger these skills will be in the morning. This process is consistent for both sexes, yet women still require a bit more sleep for optimal functioning.

Contrary to most men, many women spend a greater deal of time performing many tasks at once. Consistent multitasking requires greater brain usage throughout the day; with more brain use, more sleep is required to aid in its recovery.

The female brain is wired somewhat differently from the male brain in that some components are slightly more complex. Although a man who multitasks frequently at work may require more sleep to his average sleep cycle, he will not need as much sleep as his female counterpart who performs the same tasks.

Although women require more sleep than men, they are also more likely to suffer from sleep-deprivation. There are traits specific to women that hinder their sleep cycle: pregnancy, which causes excess weight gain and changing hormone levels, can result in various sleep disorders, such as sleep apnea or insomnia. Menopause may also contribute to a lack of sleep. Hot flashes and mood swings, which has the potential to result in depression, can certainly make sleep more challenging.

Both men and women should target an average of seven to nine hours of sleep each night to feel their best. However, due to differing brain chemistry, women are recommended an additional 20 minutes to their average sleep schedule. Both sexes, however, can combat insomnia and other sleep disorders through regular exercise, sleep routines, and a comfortable sleep environment. To feel your best and get some rest, both sexes should prioritize their sleep.

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