It turns out the differences between men and women don’t stop when we slumber. Due to differences in biology, body type, lifestyle, and socio-economic factors, men and women have varying sleep experiences and sleep habits. Some of these will cement already commonly held beliefs but some may surprise you.
Require more sleep
Women require, on average, 20 more minutes of sleep than men. This is thought to be due to the fact that women multitask more and therefore, use more brain energy. There are also connections to the daily worries of women, many of them taking on a career and family needs simultaneously.
Are more likely to suffer from insomnia
Women are impacted by insomnia 2-3 times more often than men. Many of these reasons overlap with the factors listed above.
Are more affected by sleep deprivation
According to research by the National Sleep Foundation, “Compared with men, women are impacted more by sleep deprivation, especially when it comes to their mental state. They report more anger, depression, and hostility than men when they don’t get enough sleep.”
Report more sleep disturbances than men
About 15% of women report disturbances in their sleep (versus only 8% of men). There are many possible factors to this, from stress to late-night childcare.
Have biological factors that affect sleep
Factors like menstruation, pregnancy, hormones, and psychological traits all affect the way women sleep. Women’s circadian cycle is also 6 minutes shorter than men’s on average.
Have socio-economic factors that impact sleep
Often juggling work life and home life more than their male counterparts, women are more likely to expel more energy during the day and pile on more stress. Sometimes called the “second shift,” women still do more of the “intellectual, mental, and emotional work of childcare and household maintenance.” This can lead to insufficient sleep or fluctuating sleep schedules.
Are more likely to suffer from sleep apnea and snoring
More men report or are diagnosed with sleep apnea than women. Men are also more at risk for snoring. There are a lot of factors, one of which is that men are typically heavier than women, which means airways are more likely to be restricted when lying in bed.
May suffer from undiagnosed depression or anxiety that affects sleep
Due to social stigma, men may not want to receive help for depression or anxiety. Both affect the overall quality of sleep.
Can run on fewer hours of sleep than women
Men tend to fare better on less shut-eye than women. They report feeling less irritable and more focused than women.
Wake up in a better mood
The Sleep Cycle app compiled data from hundreds of thousands of users to find that globally, men wake up happier than women.
Require cooler temperatures to sleep
Men have higher metabolic rates than women, so they produce more heat. Therefore, they usually prefer cooler temperatures when snoozing.
Dream more frequently than women
Dreams happen in the REM state, which can decrease during a woman’s cycle. Since men generally experience more REM sleep than women, this means higher chances of dreaming.
One way to help both men and women sleep better, is take the sleep quiz on our website