How Women Sleep Differently Than Men

How Women Sleep Differently Than Men

When it comes to sleep, it’s pretty much universal that most adults need 7-9 hours in order to feel energized and refreshed the following day. That said, there are some distinct ways in which women sleep differently than men. Specifically, research shows that women tend to sleep an average of 11 minutes longer than men while struggling more frequently with common sleep disorders. [1] Read on to learn more about what causes these differences, and the steps women can take to improve their sleep.

Women Need More Sleep Than Men, But Struggle More

In the grand scheme of things, women sleeping an average of 11 minutes longer than men doesn’t seem like much. But this is actually a significant difference driven by both lifestyle and hormonal factors including menstrual cycles, pregnancy, and menopause.

According to a study from McGill University [2], women’s sleep cycles run at an earlier phase than men’s cycles. This means that most women get sleepy earlier than men, although many do not adjust their sleep schedules according to their natural cycle. Rather, many women find themselves balancing work, family, and other responsibilities that keep them up later.

Women are also 40% more likely to have insomnia, a sleep disorder commonly associated with anxiety and depression. [3] There are a variety of factors that contribute to this increased likelihood:

  • Women are twice as likely to have anxiety and depression, which are closely linked to insomnia. [4]
  • Studies show that women are more likely to dwell on worrying thoughts, which can impact sleep. [5]
  • Hormonal changes from menstrual cycles, pregnancy, and menopause can also disrupt sleep.

When you combine the fact that women are not going to sleep early enough with these factors, you can see why women end up needing more sleep than men – although they often don’t get it.

Breaking Through Sleep’s Gender Bias

In an ideal world, women would go to bed earlier and sleep uninterrupted for 7-9 hours every night. In the real world, women are managing the stresses of everyday life and therefore tend to put sleep lower on their priority list. The good news is that there are some simple steps women can take to improve their sleep for more energy and focus during the day:

  • Get exposure to natural light during the day. This helps regulate your body’s internal clock and can help you fall asleep faster at night.
  • Exercise. Just 30 minutes of moderate movement each day can keep you on track with your fitness goals while also promoting deeper rest at night.
  • Practice Self-Care. It’s in many women’s nature to put others first, but a little self-care goes a long way when it comes to sleep. Give yourself time every day to do something just for yourself that helps relax your body and mind.
  • Stick to a Regular Sleep Schedule. Going to bed at the same time each night helps train your body to prepare for sleep at a consistent time.
  • Make Yourself Comfortable. Your bedroom should be a sanctuary for sleep and a place of comfort. Make sure you have a comfortable mattress, pillows, sheets, pajamas etc. to promote optimal sleep.
  • Ask for Help. While it’s in most women’s nature to do things for others, it’s healthy to ask for help if you are struggling to sleep. Ask your partner or other family members to pitch in with daily tasks so you can start going to bed earlier.

At Dear Sleep, we understand the issues that women face when it comes to balancing all of the aspects of life with sleep. That’s why our team of female experts designed the new Dear Sleep Mattress for women’s unique needs, including temperature regulation for seasonal and life changes that can impact sleep quality.

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