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Does Sleep Discriminate Between Men and Women?

Buzzle Staff Feb 28, 2019
Who needs more sleep: men or women? The fairer sex wins this battle here. Studies have shown that women's brains work harder as they multitask. Hence, the average woman needs 20 minutes of more shut-eye per night than an average man.

Now That's Not Really Surprising!

Studies have shown that women get more nightmares and emotional dreams, whereas men dream more about sex.
Men and women are different from each other. Their bodies are different, and so are their minds. No wonder then, that their sleep patterns vary as well. Although major sleep functions are same in both sexes, there is a difference between the way a man and a woman sleeps. Overall, women have to face more hurdles when it comes to getting good-quality sleep.

Gender Difference in Sleeping Patterns

Circadian Rhythm

Our body has a circadian clock which governs our sleep and awake times.
Researchers have found that women's circadian clocks are fixed an hour earlier than men. That is why women tend to feel sleepy and tired earlier. Also, the duration is 6 minutes shorter than men. No wonder, women go to bed earlier and need more shut-eye.
Studies show that women perform better when sleep deprived, and need lesser restorative sleep than men. Deep sleep is associated with memory retention. As women spend more time in deep sleep, they perform better. Most women catch up on sleep lost over the week by sleeping a couple of hours extra on the weekend, whereas men may need more hours to cover up.


The differences in sleep patterns start showing once both sexes reach puberty. Women experience more sleep disturbances as they pass through phases like menstruation, pregnancy, and menopause.
Basically, biological stages and hormones play an important part in a woman's sleep. Sleep deprivation increases the risk of heart diseases in older women. Though it affects men as well, the extent is lesser. Restless leg syndrome is also more common in women.


According to Dr. Michael Twery, Director of the National Center on Sleep Disorders Research, women are 2 - 3 times more likely to suffer from insomnia than men.
Women think and worry about problems more, which can be a potential reason for sleep deprivation. They lose a lot of sleep during and post pregnancy. Women are more prone to insomnia during menopause and menstruation, according to Monica Mallampalli from the Society for Women's Health Research.

Sleep Apnea

Sleep apnea is a disorder in which the person's breathing continuously stops and starts.
Women may experience the symptoms of sleep apnea differently than men. Hence, there's a possibility that doctors misdiagnose the signals. Depression, tiredness, and irritation can be some of the signs of sleep apnea in females.

Sleep Quality

Men report better sleep quality while women complain more about unsatisfactory sleep. Women also feel more sleepy during the day, and show aggression, irritation, and anger when they don't get enough sleep.
Both sexes wake up the happiest on Sundays, but men have the biggest smile on their faces. Even during the week, men in all countries, except Colombia, Portugal, and Ukraine, are more likely to wake up with a smile, as compared to the fairer sex.