Everyone needs and deserves a good night’s sleep. But is it true that some people need more sleep than others?
Women may need more sleep than men. Let's take a look at how much more they might need, why they might need more, and tips for getting more sleep, regardless of gender.
How much sleep do women need?
There’s no specific research-backed study about the number when it comes to how many hours of sleep women need compared to men. Adults of any gender need 7 or more hours of sleep a day for optimal health.
But when it comes to the differences in sleep, research showed that women are likely to get sleep more than men by 11-13 minutes.
Why would there be a difference?
Research suggests that sleep differences between men and women are due to numerous behavioural and biological changes that alter through the different stages of life.
Increased risk of sleep disorders
A 2014 research showed that women’s risk of developing insomnia is 40% higher compared to men, which make them get some extra sleep in an attempt to make up for hours of restlessness.
Women also have a higher risk of developing restless leg syndrome and sleep apnea, both of which impact sleep quality, causing you in need of more sleep to feel relaxed.
Hormone fluctuations linked to menstruation can make it difficult to get good sleep, especially during the premenstrual stage.
The same goes for pregnancy when changes in hormone levels all over the different trimesters can cause:
- frequent urination
- Restless leg syndrome
- breathing concerns
Then comes perimenopause and menopause, when hormone fluctuations can cause symptoms like night sweats and hot flashes, which can disturb sleep.
The risk of developing sleep disorders also increases after menopause.
More time spent on unpaid labour
A 2013 study found that women spent less time in the workforce and more time on things like family caregiving and household work.
The amount of workload is linked with less sleep, so being out of the workforce allows women to get more sleep. On the other side, though, women are more likely to have their sleep interrupted for caregiving.
Different views on sleep
Some experts suggest that men and women may have different opinions on sleep, which could somewhat explain differing sleeping needs.
Women tend to engage in less risk-taking behaviours than men and are more likely to attend to their health. For example, they might be more likely to have time for sleep at an earlier bedtime.
How much sleep do you need?
Like your body, your sleeping needs change as you age due to factors like lifestyle habits, hormones, and medical conditions.
There are general sleep suggestions for different age groups, regardless of gender, according to the CDC:
- 0-3 months: 14 to 17 hours
- 4-11 months: 12 to 16 hours
- 1-2 years: 11 to 14 hours
- 3-5 years: 10 to 13 hours
- 6-12 years: 9 to 12 hours
- 13-18 years: 8 to 10 hours
- 18-64 years: 7 to 9 hours
- 65 years and more: 7 to 8 hours
Tips for better sleep (How to sleep fast)
A night of good sleep can make all the variations when it comes to your mood, energy levels, and productivity. It also helps keep your body healthy and help to fight off illness.
Here are a few tips to help you get some quality nap:
- Have a consistent sleep and wake-up time which means going to bed same time every night and getting up at the very same time every morning.
- Set up a good sleep environment. An ideal sleeping environment encourages better sleep.
- Mind what you eat and drink before going to bed. Try not to eat for at least 3 hours before bed, and limit your caffeine intake in a day. Avoiding alcohol before bed is a good idea, too.
- Reduce blue light exposure before bed. Blue light messes with your regular rhythm by misleading your body into thinking it’s still daytime. This can make it even harder to fall asleep.
- Doing something relaxing before going to bed like taking a hot shower before bed is shown to help people fall asleep faster and get more restful sleep. Some other popular suggestions are reading deep breathing and meditation.
- Get some exercise. Doing regular exercise can help you get to sleep more easily. It also lowers stress and anxiety levels, which can affect your sleep.
- Avoid taking any sleeping tablets.
- Underlying medical conditions and certain medications can contribute to less or poor sleep. Talk with your doctor if you’re having trouble falling asleep, or you are waking up tired after a night’s sleep.
Women tend to sleep a few more minutes per night than men and may need that extra nap for various reasons. Regardless of your age and gender, though, getting enough quality sleep is crucial for your mental and physical well being. A few lifestyle changes can help you get better sleep. If they don’t, it’s worth checking in with a doctor to rule out an underlying condition that might be impacting your sleep.