It has been found by a prominent researcher in sleep science that women actually need more sleep than men. In a recent article, it was explained that women need at least 20 minutes more sleep per night than men. This is due to the fact that women multi-task more often, which means that they use more of their brain power during the day. As a result, their need for sleep is greater as well. Very simply put, the more the brain is used, the more sleep is required to recharge it.
Not Enough Sleep Is Bad
Unfortunately, while women need more sleep than men, they are not getting it. This is due to a number of factors. Firstly, pregnant women are often too uncomfortable to sleep properly. Similarly, women going through menopause frequently wake up from hot flashes. Men are also generally larger then women, and their movements during sleep often disturb a woman’s sleep. Finally, women often lose sleep as a result of worrying over problems.
According to the National Sleep Foundation, insomnia in women is very real and they should seek help to deal with this an improve both the quantity and quality of sleep they get.
The National Sleep Foundation recommends combating insomnia by getting regular exercise, setting routine bed and wake times, limiting caffeine and alcohol intake, and improving the sleep environment.
The Health Risk to Women
Sleep is about more than simply resting the brain. It is an opportunity for our entire bodies to recharge and regenerate. Hence, with insufficient or poor quality sleep, woman are actually increasing their risk of various diseases and illnesses. Interestingly, men do not have as many health-related problems if they get poor sleep, and this is due to testosterone.
Levels of this hormone rise after poor sleep in men, and because it decreases insulin and increases muscle mass, testosterone has an anti-inflammatory effect, which kept men’s stress hormones lower.
Unfortunately, women release progesterone rather than testosterone during their sleep, which does not have the same effects. Additionally, although women do release estrogen and this does act in the same manner as testosterone, levels of this hormone drop as we age. Hence, by the time women hit menopause, when interrupted sleep is more common anyway, the quality of sleep is reduced even further due to the lack of estrogen released.
The Three Stages of Sleep
Sleep comes in three different stages. Firstly, there is stage 1, which is a light doze and does not offer many, if any, restorative properties. In stage 2, we enter middle sleep, which is restorative. The final stage is slow-wave deep sleep, which is the most restorative stage of the three stages. Unfortunately, it now seems that women take much longer to reach this third stage than what men do. This can be of significant concern, because it means it is even less likely they get the right amount of sleep each night, being 20 minutes more than men.
It is not all doom and gloom, however. It seems that there are two stages in a woman’s life where her sleep gets significantly reduced. These periods are pregnancy and menopause.
Pregnant women see an increase in sleep problems in the first and last trimester. During the first trimester, sleep problems are caused by hormonal changes, and during the last trimester, the baby is larger and creates pressure on the diaphragm, which creates breathing problems.
As such, not all hope is lost. By being aware of their changing bodies, women can take steps to increase both the quality and quantity of their sleep. To keep a healthy eating and exercise routine is essential for our health.
Please share this article with all the important women in your life so that they can also benefit from this wonderful information.
Together we can make this world a happier, healthier world!