Let Her Sleep In! Why Women Need More Sleep Than Men

Be a gentleman and let your girlfriend sleep in. It's important, and science doesn't lie.

woman stretching morning waking up Gorodenkoff / shutterstock

Couples sometimes argue over who gets more sleep. In fact, it can cause arguments in relationships, especially when one partner feels they accomplish tasks while their spouse or partner is sleeping.

Science has settled the debate over whether men or women need more sleep.

Do women really need more sleep than men?

Yes, women need more sleep than men — and it's scientifically proven.

According to a study conducted by researchers at Duke University, it turns out your girlfriend or wife should be the one sleeping in, not you. That's right, it turns out that women need more sleep than men.


Contrary to popular belief, it's not because women get tired more easily or do more work than men in a day. It actually has a lot to do with the way women's brains are wired in relation to men's.

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The 2008 study examined 210 middle-aged men and women and found that women suffered greater health issues from lack of sleep than men.

"We found that, for women, poor sleep is strongly associated with high levels of psychological distress and greater feelings of hostility, depression, and anger," said Edward Suarez, an Associate Professor in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at Duke and the lead author of the study. "In contrast, these feelings were not associated with the same degree of sleep disruption in men."

Other sleep experts agree. "One of the major functions of sleep is to allow the brain to recover and repair itself," added Professor Jim Horne, director of the Sleep Research Center at Loughborough University and author of "Sleepfaring: A Journey Through The Science of Sleep."

"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," he continued. "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... and so, they use more of their actual brain than men do. Because of that, their sleep need is greater."


In addition, women have several factors that affect sleep, such as pregnancy, hormone levels, menstruation and menopause, which men do not experience.

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Why do women need more sleep than men?

1. Women's brains are wired differently.

"Women's brains are wired differently from men's and are more complex, so their sleep needs will be slightly greater. The average is 20 minutes more, but some women may need slightly more or less than this," said Horne.

So, in a variety of ways, yes, women's brains are more complex than the brains of their male counterparts, and women, therefore, need more time to relax and recover overnight.


Next time you expect her to wake up early and cater to all your needs, maybe return the favor. Cook her breakfast, do a few loads of laundry, tidy the house — anything to make her life a little easier.

Remember, she's your partner in all things, and that includes taking care of her mental and physical well-being by allowing her to get the sleep she needs.

2. Women often have busier schedules.

Unfortunately, we live in a world that still operates under a patriarchal system. Therefore, women may have to be more than one person.

What that means is that women may have a job (full- or part-time), then take point on caring for children, while also making sure the household is running. That is a ton of work to put on one person. It's exhausting, so women need that extra time to recharge and rest.


3. Women go through numerous hormonal changes.

Another reason women need more sleep than men is because their bodies are constantly going through hormonal changes. These hormonal changes include menstruation, pregnancy, and menopause.

Women have to deal with physical pain and discomfort every month, while men do not experience this. That alone should be enough reason to let your woman sleep in. Not only that, but women are also more prone to develop depression and anxiety.

4. Many women don't get enough rest to begin with.

Due to the demands of their lives, women often struggle to get the amount of rest they need. This means that they are already exhausted before having to execute their days. Their sleep patterns are already all over the place, especially if they have small children.

Little sleep relates to irritability, making women more miserable. Encourage the women in your life to prioritize their sleep and offer to help them out whenever possible.


How many hours of sleep should women get?

While the average adult needs 7-9 hours of sleep, women actually require the full nine hours. And according to Harvard University, "More than 60% of women fall short of that goal."

In other words: Let her sleep in, gentlemen. It's important. And science doesn't lie.

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