Do women sleep differently than men?

Common clichés say that men simply sleep soundly, while women not only get up earlier, but also wake up constantly during the night - but is that true? We explain how our gender is related to our sleep and whether women really sleep worse than men.

Table of Contents

  1. The sexes & sleep
  2. Sleep duration: do women sleep longer than men?
  3. Sleep quality: Do women sleep better than men?
  4. Lack of sleep: Do women suffer more from lack of sleep?
  5. Sleep remains individual
  6. Conclusion

The sexes & sleep

We all oversleep around a third of our lives and usually need around seven to nine hours of sleep a night to feel really fresh and relaxed in the morning. How much sleep we need exactly depends, among other things, on our genetic predisposition, our chronotype, our age, but also our gender. While around 65% of women suffer from sleep disorders, only around 20% of men are affected. But how exactly do female and male sleep patterns differ and who can sleep "better" overall?

Sleep duration: do women sleep longer than men?

Scientific studies have shown that, on average, women need a little more sleep than men. In order to wake up properly refreshed and rested, women need an average of 20 minutes more sleep per night.

A possible reason for the increased need for sleep is that the female brain performs more complex tasks during the day and that the many different tasks, stress or multitasking result in a stronger networking of different brain areas. This flexible functioning costs the organism a lot of energy and the brain of a woman therefore needs longer to fully recover at night than that of a man. Of course, this doesn't mean that women think more or better than men - they just think differently.

Sleep quality: Do women sleep better or worse than men?

Junge Frau mit Schlafstörungen liegt nachts wach im Bett

Women generally sleep worse than men and suffer more frequently from sleep disorders. Studies in recent years have also been able to prove this scientifically. A woman's sleep is generally lighter and more prone to disruption than a man's. On average, women also need longer to fall asleep, wake up more frequently at night and are rarely able to get back to a restful sleep, which clearly affects the quality of sleep. There can be several reasons for this.

Higher vigilance
One possible reason for the sensitivity of female night sleep is the evolutionary development through which women, as former "protected wards", are more alert at night and more quickly aware of potential dangers and dangers during sleep Sources of interference such as noise, movement or light had to react. The female nervous system is therefore activated more quickly and reacts more strongly to external stimuli, as a result of which sleep is more easily disturbed and there are frequent awakenings at night.

Hormone balance / female cycle
The female cycle in particular has a strong influence on sleep patterns. In the monthly cycle, during pregnancy and breastfeeding, but also in old age during the menopause, the female hormone balance fluctuates greatly and impairs numerous bodily functions, the psyche and sleeping patterns.

Progesteronspiegel im weiblichen Hormonzyklus beeinflusst den Schlaf

Many women struggle with sleep problems, especially in the first half of the menstrual cycle, because this is when the level of the hormone progesterone, which has a sleep-promoting and relaxing effect, falls.The typical complaints such as abdominal pain, abdominal cramps, bad mood or hot flashes can put additional strain on the body and increase daytime sleepiness. Not only through the occurrence of the physical or physical complaints themselves, but also the associated stress is an obstacle to a peaceful sleep. Because then additional stress hormones such as cortisol are released, which, as an opponent of the sleep hormone melatonin, has a direct effect on the sleep-wake regulation and stands in the way of restful sleep.

The female psyche
Our mental state also has a major impact on how we sleep. Women are almost twice as likely to suffer from depression, anxiety, or the stresses and worries of everyday life—all factors that are also linked to insomnia and sleep disorders, preventing the body from getting enough rest and calm to sleep.

Lack of sleep: Do women suffer more from lack of sleep than men?

Lack of sleep is particularly harmful to our daily performance and our health, but ultimately has a negative effect on numerous other areas of life. Studies show that men are fundamentally less sleep deprived than women. Women tend to be more emotionally affected by nature and more sensitive to stress, insomnia and the consequences of sleep deprivation. In addition, the female body and the brain, which is heavily challenged during the day, need sufficient rest at night in order to be able to cope with the challenges of everyday life and to be able to endure hormonal complaints.

Sleep remains individual

Frau wird von Schnarchen des Mannes im Schlaf gestört

Our sleep behavior is more than complex and dependent on numerous factors that can influence our sleep to varying degrees. In contrast to the male counterpart, females are more often faced with the challenge of sleeping sufficiently long and restfully despite hormone fluctuations, increased sleep requirements or lack of sleep depth. Women can therefore go to bed a little earlier or sleep a few minutes longer than their men. Although they can sleep better overall, they tend to suffer from breathing disorders and snoring at night. The well-known clichés have a core of truth after all and show how important it can be that we pay attention to different sleep needs, especially within a partnership - so that we can all sleep restfully and start a successful day together with new energy!

Conclusion

  • Women suffer from sleep disorders almost twice as often as men and need an average of 20 minutes more sleep per night so that the brain, which is more complex during the day, can regenerate sufficiently
  • The female hormonal balance, the psyche and evolutionary characteristics make it difficult for women to sleep and make it harder for women to fall asleep, wake up more easily and sleep less restfully
  • Women sleep worse overall than men and suffer more frequently from sleep disorders, difficulties falling asleep or problems sleeping through the night

Greetings and see you soon!

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