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Study: Women Need More Sleep Because They Use Their Brain More

Caucasian woman sleeping in bed

Well, ladies, it looks like we may have been right all along! New studies have found that women need more sleep than men because they use their brains more.

Researchers from Duke University have discovered that, compared to men, women experience more mental and physical consequences from inadequate rest. Besides giving half of the population a legitimate reason to sleep in, the findings could also inspire new health recommendations for women at greater risk of heart disease, depression, and mental health problems.

The study, led by clinical psychologist and sleep expert Michael Breus, estimated that men and women’s respective needs for sleep by assessing their ability to deal with insufficient rest.

“We found that women had more depression, women had more anger, and women had more hostility early in the morning.”

Why and How Much More

There are many biological factors that contribute, but some experts believe that it ultimately comes down to mental energy expenditure. Women simply use their brains more than men do.

“One of the major functions of sleep is to allow the brain to recover and repair itself. During deep sleep, the cortex — the part of the brain responsible for thought, memory, language and so on — disengages from the senses and goes into recovery mode,” Jim Horne, director of the Sleep Research Center at Loughborough University in England, told The Australian. “The more of your brain you use during the day, the more of it that needs to recover and, consequently, the more sleep you need. Women tend to multi-task — they do lots at once and are flexible — and so they use more of their actual brain than men do.”

Women need on average 20 or more minutes than men. In addition to spending more mental energy than men, researchers also found that women need more sleep than men because they experience more consequences from lack of sleep than men do.

“For women, poor sleep is strongly associated with high levels of psychological distress and greater feelings of hostility, depression, and anger,” Horne said. “In contrast, these feelings were not associated with the same degree of sleep disruption in men.”

Health Effects of Sleep Deprivation

“One of the major functions of sleep is to allow the brain to recover and repair itself. During deep sleep, the cortex — the part of the brain responsible for thought, memory, language, and so on — disengages from the senses and goes into recovery mode,” Horne told The Australian. “The more of your brain you use during the day, the more of it that needs to recover and, consequently, the more sleep you need.”

Poor sleep is linked to weight gain, increased suicide risk, and chronic, life-threatening illnesses like type 2 diabetes and heart disease.

“For women, poor sleep is strongly associated with high levels of psychological distress and greater feelings of hostility, depression, and anger,” he says.”In contrast, these feelings were not associated with the same degree of sleep disruption in men.”

So to all the women of the world, you’re welcome; It’s time to sleep in!

Sources:

https://sleepfoundation.org/sleep-news/do-women-need-more-sleep-men

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