We all know that women and men have different needs, but did you know that when it comes to sleep a study has found that women require more sleep time than men? In fact, the study shows that the average woman sleeps 8 hours and 27 minutes a night, which is approximately 11 minutes more nightly than men.
Researchers found this surprising, as sociological research shows that women have more unpaid work and less high-quality leisure time when compared to men. When looking into what is considered unpaid work for a woman, it came down to family responsibilities such as caring for children, family, and social roles that kept a woman busier in a day versus a man.
While this study shows women logging more time asleep, it also found that the quality of sleep experienced by women was lower than that of men. Women often experience lighter sleep during the night, which can be more easily disrupted. At times, women also tend to nap during the day which leads to less sleep at night.
Going beyond this, women’s bodies undergo different hormonal cycles than men’s bodies. Many biological conditions are unique to women, like experiencing a menstrual cycle, pregnancy, or menopause. All of these natural processes affect the levels of hormones in a woman’s body, like estrogen and progesterone, which can have an impact on female sleep patterns. While women experience more easily disrupted sleep due to hormonal processes, men are more likely to experience snoring due to air passages that are often narrower than women’s nasal passages.
Top 4 Reasons Women Need More Sleep:
- HORMONES - Aside from the obvious effects menstruation, pregnancy, postpartum and menopause hormones have on women, the physical discomfort and pain caused by these hormonal changes can keep a woman up at night or making a woman feel sleepier during the day.
- SCHEDULES - Women tend to take on more responsibility when it comes to family and home. That means women are the ones caring for children, preparing meals, doing play dates, socializing with friends, and having day jobs. The schedule of the modern family/working woman leaves little time for them to relax, and wearing multiple hats can be very exhausting.
- MENTAL HEALTH - A demanding routine means that women don’t get the rest their brains need to thrive during their day. An American Academy of Sleep Medicine study found that women are more likely to experience depression or anxiety due to low-quality sleep which can translate into real-life symptoms such as excessive daytime sleepiness, difficulty concentrating, and remembering to do things due to tiredness.
- ISSUES SLEEPING WITH A PARTNER - When 2 people share a bed, there can be many distractions and stimulants that may affect sleep. What one person needs to be able to sleep will be different for another, this is why many couples have resorted to sleeping in separate rooms. Butt what can you do if you still want the intimacy of your relationship, Jack shares his tips for couples:
Effect of Women’s Hormones on Sleep Cycle
Hormones play a large role in your sleep and wake cycle, different hormones can affect when you feel tired, alert, hungry, and more. Women experience major hormonal shifts every month, and throughout their lives that can directly impact a woman’s circadian rhythm and result in women requiring more sleep than men. Here we will break down how each large hormone change a woman experiences directly affects sleep:
Women experience a menstruation cycle every month, this can come with many negative symptoms when estrogen and progesterone levels decrease. Premenstrual Syndrome (PMS) and Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder (PMDD) tend to cause emotional and physical symptoms. In fact, ⅓ of women report trouble sleeping due to physical symptoms such as cramps, headaches, and bloating. Women who suffer from PMS and PMDD also report more sleep-related issues such as insomnia, frequent awakening, non-restorative sleep, and unpleasant dreams/nightmares.
All of this lack of quality sleep translates into a woman's day with increases in sleepiness, fatigue, decreased alertness, and lack of concentration during the week before menstruation and the lasting through menstruation. This means women are facing a significant sleep disruption for 4 to 8 days EVERY month!
This momentous event in a woman’s life not only causes many changes to a woman’s physical body, but also significant fluctuation ins hormones that cause physiologic changes that can lead to sleep disturbances. As you would expect, physical symptoms such as urinary frequency, fetal movement, general abdominal discomfort, heartburn, and reflux can all happen during pregnancy and disrupt a pregnant woman’s sleep. Did you know during pregnancy many women also develop restless leg syndrome, which on top of the big body changes also makes it harder to fall asleep?
About 58% of pregnant women report significant sleep disturbances and when these disturbances occur 3+ nights per week for a period of 3+ months it can be clinically diagnosed as insomnia. 10% of pregnant women are diagnosed with perinatal insomnia.
Unfortunately, these sleep issues will follow a woman after pregnancy as they transition to taking care of a newborn with an irregular sleep cycle. Many women suffer daytime sleepiness during pregnancy and at least a year after pregnancy.
A normal part of aging, menopause is a hormonal change that women also experience. This is something you are sure to have heard of, but 85% of women experiencing menopause report having hot flashes. When a hot flash occurs it disrupts sleep with the onset of extreme heat and sweat which in turn wakes you up. In fact, sleep disruption is the main symptom of menopause many women experience.
Another sleep disorder that women may experience at the menopausal stage is sleep apnea. This may be caused by a loss of estrogen and progesterone, and women become two to three times more likely to have sleep apnea.
IMPROVING SLEEP FOR WOMEN
While all of this sounds extremely daunting, women shouldn’t feel like it means they will never get a good night’s sleep again. There are steps a woman can take to be sure she is prioritizing her sleep.
Make a Sleep Schedule (And Stick To It): Regulating your body’s internal clock is important to make sure that you are getting the quality sleep you need. To improve your body’s sleep patterns, stick to the same sleep schedule of bedtime and wake-up time (even on the weekends). Even if you are woken during the night, your body will be getting the signals that it is time to go to sleep or time to wake up keeping a normal circadian rhythm.
Prioritize Comfort: Many people do not realize how vital it is to have a mattress and pillows that are supportive and comfortable. Many people keep mattresses and pillows long past when they are intended, and a low-quality mattress may contain chemicals and allergens that negatively impact sleep patterns and quality of sleep. It is important to prioritize an organic mattress that also relieves pressure points, especially for a pregnant woman. Essentia’s patented Beyond Latex organic foam is the world’s only slow-response organic latex foam that acts like a memory foam for ultimate pressure relief, without the petrochemicals.
Pick a Mattress that Actively Cool: Essentia performance mattresses enhanced with activated quartz actively cools and allows the sleep surface to sleep up to 9 degrees cooler than your internal body temperature based on the model. This means for a woman experiencing hot flashes, a sleep surface that keeps her cool is essential for quality sleep uninterrupted by night sweats.
- Create a Sleep-Friendly Environment: To limit sleep disruptions, you need to eliminate stimulants that can keep your central nervous system active at night thus resulting in you not experiencing your full sleep cycles. An Essentia mattress is the only mattress to feature the 7 key elements needed to experience uninterrupted regenerative sleep. This includes eliminating chemicals, pressure points, heat stimulants, and the only mattress to mitigate the effects of EMFs on the body.
Here at Essentia, we create sleep environments that extend the time you spend in Deep Sleep and REM sleep cycles by eliminating the stimulants that can pull your body out of these cycles. For women, this means they are making the most of the time they are asleep and in most cases, improving the quality of sleep they experience. This can in turn improve both mental and physical health. Given a woman's schedule, sleeping on an Essentia can ensure she can continue to be the ultimate multitasker while also getting the sleep quality she deserves.