World Sleep Day: Why do women need more quality sleep than men?

Everyone needs good sleep, a solid 7-8 hours every night. But it is often said that women need more and better quality sleep than men. Citing a 2014 study, ‘Exploring Sex and Gender Differences in Sleep Health: A Society for Women’s Health Research Report‘ published in the National Library of Medicine, Nitin Gupta, the executive director of Springfit says that optimal sleep hours vary in men and women.

“[The study] also stated that women are 40 per cent more prone to insomnia and restless leg syndrome, and that men also tend to have a deeper sleep than women,” he says.

How much sleep do women need?

According to Gupta, while there is no study that shows the exact amount of sleep needed by women as compared to men, on average, every individual requires around 7-8 hours daily for good health. “According to research published in PMC, a journal of the National Center for Biotechnology Information, the US National Library of Medicine, women tend to sleep 11-13 minutes more than men. It also states that sleep differences between men and women are due to various behavioral and biological factors,” he adds.

Increased risk of sleep disorders

Sleep disorders are conditions that impair your sleep or prevent you from getting restful sleep and, as a result, cause daytime sleepiness and other symptoms, says the expert.

“Although both men and women experience problems with sleep from time-to-time, women have a higher risk of having them. There is an upward trend in the number of sleep disorders cases in women, specifically insomnia, sleep apnea, and restless legs syndrome.”

* Insomnia is a sleeping disorder where it is difficult to get to sleep and stay asleep.

* Sleep Apnea is a sleep disorder where breathing abruptly stops and starts while sleeping. Women over 50 are at a greater risk for this sleep disorder.

* Restless legs syndrome is a condition where a person feels an urge to move their legs, even while they are resting. The only relief comes from physical activity.

“In addition to these sleeping disorders, women may also suffer from hormonal imbalance, pregnancy, menstrual cycleand old age which prevents them from getting a good night’s sleep,” says Gupta.

Have a consistent sleep and wake-up time. (Photo: Getty/Thinkstock)

Tips for better sleep

Women generally tend to sleep a few more minutes for a variety of reasons. Getting quality sleep is crucial for physical and mental health. A few lifestyle hacks can help you, and the expert suggests the following:

Having consistent sleep and wake-up time. This means going to bed at the same time every night and getting up at the same time every morning.

Setting up a good sleep environment. An ideal sleep environment encourages better sleep. Make sure your room is quiet, dark, and comfortable with things like comfortable mattresses and bedding.

Mind what you eat and drink before bed. Try not to eat for at least 3 hours before bedand limit your caffeine intake to earlier in the day.

Do something relaxing before bed. Taking a hot bath before bed has been shown to help people fall asleep faster and get more restful and deeper sleep. Some other popular suggestions are reading, deep breathing, and meditation.

Get some exercise. As long as you don’t work out right before bed, regular exercise can help you get to sleep more easily. It also lowers stress and anxiety levels.

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