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Last Updated on June 2, 2022 by Peter

Do Women Need More Sleep Than Men & Why Is That?

We all need it, but do women need more sleep than men? Is that just a myth or is that actually the case? Is a regular lady’s actual brain wired differently so she needs more sleep because of biological differences?

While it might seem like there is no answer as to whether or not women need more sleep than men, there are some factors that can contribute to sleep problems in women. 

These can include common causes such as stress and anxiety or other mental health issues, hormonal changes, and pregnancy, but let’s not get ahead of ourselves – we’ll get to that in a minute.

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    Why do women need more sleep?

    It’s no secret that poor sleep can lead to a number of negative consequences, including poor productivity, decreased concentration, and irritability. But did you know that women tend to be more affected by sleep disorders and sleep deprivation than men?

    An image of a woman being tired due to sleep debt.

    A study by Sleep Research Centre shows that women need an extra 20 minutes of sleep each night to function at their best during the day. This is because women are more likely to suffer from poor sleep due to hormonal changes, stress, and other factors. But, let’s not just guess. Let’s get together and explore the possible reasons women need more sleep than men.

    Menstruation

    Menstruation can make it difficult to fall asleep and stay asleep. Many women (about a third) report higher levels of daytime sleepiness, tiredness, and fatigue, as well as cramps, headaches, loading, stomachache and so on.

    An image of a woman in bed having menstruation pains.

    To help combat this, it is recommended that women get extra sleep during their period. This can be in the form of an extra hour or two of sleep at night or taking a nap during the day.

    Menopause

    Menopause is a time when many women experience hot flashes. When these occur at night, they can disrupt sleep.

    An image of a depressed woman due to menopause.

    Women’s risk of developing sleep apnea also increases during menopause. This sleep disorder causes pauses in breathing that can interfere with the quality of one’s sleep, even if the person doesn’t wake up. As a result, women with obstructive sleep apnea may feel less refreshed upon waking up and experience tiredness and excessive sleepiness during the day.

    Pregnancy

    Pregnancy can be a difficult time for many women. Not only are they dealing with the physical changes that come with carrying a child, but they also have to contend with the mental and emotional stress of becoming a mother.

    An image of a pregnant woman laying on side.

    On top of all that, according to Exploring Sex and Gender Differences in Sleep Health: A Society for Women’s Health Research Report, there’s an increased chance they may also develop restless legs syndrome, which can make it harder to fall asleep. Luckily, it’s possible to deal with RLS. Additionally, pregnancy can also lead to depression, sleep apnea, back pain, and incontinence – all of which can disrupt sleep.

    These sleep issues can persist into the early motherhood period when women are caring for a newborn with an irregular sleep cycle. This often leads to even more daytime sleepiness.

    Insomnia

    Insomnia is a sleep disturbance that affects sleep quality and can make it difficult to fall and stay asleep. Research suggests, women are far more likely to experience insomnia than men, which may lead them to want to get some extra sleep in an attempt to make up for hours of tossing and turning.

    an image of a woman suffering from insomnia caused by nightmares

    There are many potential causes of insomnia, including stress, anxiety, medications, or pregnancy. Postpartum insomnia is a common problem among ladies. Treatment for insomnia often includes lifestyle changes, such as relaxation techniques and sleeping on a regular schedule. In some cases, medications may be necessary to help you get the rest you need.

    Hormonal disbalance

    Hormonal imbalance in women can make deep sleep elusive. The menstrual cycle, pregnancy, perimenopause, and menopause can all cause changes in hormone levels that can disrupt sleep.

    An image of a young woman loosing hair due to hormonal disbalance.

    Fluctuations in estrogen and progesterone during the menstrual cycle can lead to insomnia during the premenstrual stage. The fatigue, drowsiness, and frequent urination associated with pregnancy can also make it hard to get a good night’s rest. And hot flashes and night sweats caused by perimenopause and menopause can disturb sleep.

    Tips for women who need more sleep

    Now that we’ve gotten familiar with all the reasons why women need more sleep than men, let’s take a look at how we can help them, shall we?

    Below, are some of the easiest and most efficient tips that can help women sleep better and relax their minds and bodies every time to hit the snooze.

    insomnia produced by stress and lack of sleep

    Develop a sleep routine

    Our bodies operate on a natural circadian rhythm, or “body clock.” This internal clock regulates many of our bodily functions, including sleep. To stay healthy and function at our best, it’s important to keep our circadian rhythm in balance.

    An image of a woman in a sleeping bag.

    One way to do this is to develop a sleep routine. This means going to bed at the same time every night and getting up at the same time every morning. Yep, weekends too.
    A regular sleep schedule helps to keep our body clock in balance, which can improve our overall health and well-being.

    Optimize sleep environment

    Creating an ideal sleep environment is important for getting a great night’s rest.
    You can do so by making sure your room is quiet, dark and comfortable. Blackout blinds, comfy bedding, cosy pillows, a white noise machine and a comfortable mattress can all help to create an ideal sleep environment that will encourage better sleep.

    An an ideal sleeping environment.

    Avoid junk food & snacks before bed

    It’s no secret that what you eat can affect your sleep. Eating a big meal before bed can cause indigestion and make it difficult to fall asleep while eating sugary or fatty foods can lead to an energy crash later on. That’s why it’s generally a good idea to avoid junk food and snacks before bed – for at least three hours.

    an image of a woman having a late night snack

    Relax

    There are many things that you can do to relax before the ZZZs.

    One is to read a book. This can help take your mind off of whatever is stressing you out. Another is to avoid blue light. This means staying away from screens for a while before bed. You can also meditate or drink chamomile tea, listen to some calming relaxing music, or just do whatever it is that makes you feel at peace.

    Exercise throughout the day

    Working out during the day can help you get a good night’s sleep. It also lowers stress and anxiety levels.

    An image of a couple stretching and exercising in the morning.

    Regular exercise can help you get to sleep more easily and improve the quality of your sleep, as long as you don’t end up doing a heavy workout right before bed.
    For best results, keep your workouts as far away from bedtime as possible.

    Conclusion - why do women need to sleep more?

    Women need more sleep than men, in general – that much is clear by now. This is because they experience hormonal changes throughout their cycle, pregnancy and other feminine trials that affect sleep, as well as their minds and bodies.

    an image of a woman sleeping on her side

    Fortunately, there are many things women can do to help themselves get better nighttime sleep. We’ve mentioned some of these practices in hopes they’ll help you catch some quality ZZZs tonight. We genuinely hope that ends up being the case. Good night!

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