Do women sleep differently than men?

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

Table of Contents

  1. The Genders & 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 a lack of sleep?
  5. Sleep remains individual
  6. Conclusion

1. Gender & Sleep

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

2. Sleep duration: Do women sleep longer than men?

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

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

3. 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 often from sleep disorders. Studies in recent years have also been able to scientifically prove this. Overall, a woman's sleep is easier and more prone to disruption than a man's. Women also take longer on average to fall asleep, wake up more often during the night and can rarely find their way back into a restful sleep, which significantly affects the quality of sleep. There can be several reasons for this.

Higher vigilance
A possible reason for the sensitivity of women's nighttime sleep is the evolutionary development, through which women, as former "wards", are more vigilant at night and quicker to potential dangers during sleep Sources of interference such as noise, movements or light had to react. The female nervous system is activated more quickly and reacts more strongly to external stimuli, whereupon sleep is more easily disturbed and frequent awakenings occur during the night.

Hormon balance / female cycle
The female cycle in particular has a strong influence on sleep behavior. During the monthly cycle, during pregnancy and breastfeeding, but also at older ages during menopause, the female hormonal balance fluctuates greatly and affects numerous bodily functions, the psyche and sleep behavior.

Progesteronspiegel im weiblichen Hormonzyklus beeinflusst den Schlaf

Many women struggle with sleep problems, especially in the first half of the cycle, because this is when the level of the hormone progesterone, which has a sleep-promoting and relaxing effect, drops. Typical complaints such as abdominal pain, stomach cramps, bad mood or hot flashes can put additional strain on the body and increase daytime tiredness. But it's not just the occurrence of the physical symptoms themselves, but also the associated stress that hinders peaceful sleep. Because then additional stress hormones such as cortisol are released, which, as an antagonist of the sleep hormone melatonin, has a direct effect on sleep-wake regulation and stands in the way of restful sleep.

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

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

Lack of sleep is particularly damaging to our daily performance and our health, but ultimately has a negative impact on numerous other areas of life. Studies show that men generally suffer slightly less from a lack of sleep than women. Women tend to be naturally more emotionally affected and more sensitive to stress, insomnia and the consequences of sleep loss. In addition, the female body and the brain, which are under great strain during the day, need sufficient rest at night in order to meet the challenges of everyday life and to be able to endure hormonal-related complaints.

5. Sleep remains individual

Frau wird von Schnarchen des Mannes im Schlaf gestörtOur sleep behavior is more than complex and depends on numerous factors that can influence our sleep to varying degrees. In contrast to their male counterparts, the female gender is somewhat more often faced with the challenge of sleeping for a sufficiently long and restful time despite hormone fluctuations, an increased need for sleep or a lack of depth of sleep. 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 are more likely to suffer from breathing problems and snoring at night. The well-known clichés have a kernel of truth 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!

6. 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 under more complex stress during the day, can sufficiently regenerate
  • The female hormonal balance, the psyche and evolutionary characteristics make female sleep more difficult and lead to women finding it harder to fall asleep, waking up more easily and sleeping less restfully
  • Women sleep worse overall than men and suffer more often from sleep disorders, difficulty falling asleep or problems staying asleep

Greetings and see you soon!

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