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Women Need More Sleep Than Men: Our Brains Are Wired Differently

By HERWriter
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Women Need More Sleep Than Men Via Aydali Campa

Women may need to catch more Z’s than their male counterparts due to having the more complex female brain, according to a recent post from Metro.co.uk. After speaking with Professor Jim Horne, director of Loughborough University’s Sleep Research Centre, Metro found that women have a different response to a lack of sleep.

“For women, poor sleep is strongly associated with high levels of psychological distress and greater feelings of hostility, depression, and anger. In contrast, these feelings were not associated with the same degree of sleep disruption in men,” Horne told Metro.

The reasoning for this, Horne said, is that women’s brains are just set up a little bit differently than men’s brains.

“Women’s brains are wired differently from men’s and are more complex, so their sleep need will be slightly greater. The more of your brain you use during the day, the more of it that needs to recover and, consequently, the more sleep you need,” said Horne.

He says that due to the fact that women are typically multitasking and using their brains in more ways, they require more sleep.

The exception would be a man who works very hard each day.

“A man who has a complex job that involves a lot of decision making and lateral thinking may also need more sleep than the average male,” said Horne.

According to the National Sleep Foundation, although women may need more sleep, the fact of the matter is that they are likely not getting the sleep they need. Whether it be from difficulty sleeping during pregnancy or menopause, extreme stress, or even a wiggling bed partner, sleep can be hard to come by for many women.

If you find yourself lacking in the sleep that you need, try one of these following tips to rid yourself of tiredness:

1) Put your phone away before you try to fall asleep. The light from the phone and the distractions held within it will not be beneficial in your attempts to fall asleep.

2) Instead of trying to catch up on sleep on weekends, starting trying to adjust your sleep routine during the week. Go to sleep at an earlier time, and wake up more easily in the morning.

3) Take a warm bath an hour or so before you go to bed to help you feel relaxed and calm, which will ease you into sleep mode.

Reviewed March 22, 2016
by Michele Blacksberg RN
Edited by Jody Smith

1) Women Need More Sleep Than Men Because Their Brains Work Harder. US Magazine.com. Retrieved March 18, 2016.

2) Do Women Need More Sleep Than Men? National Sleep Foundation. Retrieved March 18, 2016. 

3) Women actually need more sleep than men so let’s all go back to bed. Metro.co.uk. Retrieved March 18, 2016.

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We value and respect our HERWriters' experiences, but everyone is different. Many of our writers are speaking from personal experience, and what's worked for them may not work for you. Their articles are not a substitute for medical advice, although we hope you can gain knowledge from their insight.

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