Do Women Sleep More Than Men?

Written by
Purple Staff
Last Updated
July 20, 2022
min read

Everyone needs quality sleep at night to give them more energy for daily tasks. But does your gender affect the amount of sleep you need to handle sources of stress? 

Read on to find out if women sleep more than men. We'll tell you more about how much sleep the female brain needs!

How Much Do We Sleep?

Research suggests that the average adult requires around 7 to 9 hours of sound sleep to feel more refreshed in the day. Shorter hours than that may lead to daytime sleepiness, irritability, and even weight gain.

Unfortunately, these shorter hours of sleep are much more common across the board for men and women. The CDC has found that only 64.5% of men and 65.2 % of women get at least 7 hours of sleep time. This means easily around a third of adults are in dire need of extra sleep to help them manage their everyday activities.

This poorer sleep is because many people don't have sleep habits to help them calm down before going to sleep. To improve your sleep quality, create restful sleep environments, reduce your alcohol and caffeine consumption, and set sleep and wake times. This should bring you closer to the minimum requirement for restful sleep.

Do Women Actually Sleep More Than Men?

Yes, women actually sleep more than men. The same research mentioned above also showed that women sleep more than men by an average of eleven minutes. Despite this, more women have poor sleep.

Apart from the difference between the number of men and women who manage to get those minimum 7 hours of deep sleep, there's a big sleep cycle gap between male and female students. On average, 71.3 % of female students miss out on getting the minimum amount of nighttime sleep, compared to 66.4% of male students.

Why Do Women Need More Sleep Than Men?

Women need more sleep than men for many physical and mental health-related reasons. Firstly, women are twice as likely as men to have high depression and anxiety levels. These are worsened by insomnia or the inability to fall and stay asleep.

Our sleep cycles are also heavily influenced by hormones like estrogen, the hormone for women's reproductive health. Women experience changes to their estrogen levels every month, as well as during several life stages due to their reproductive cycles. 

Here are more statistics:

  • Over a third of women have poorer sleep quality due to physical symptoms of menstruation. Bloating, headaches, and cramps are common problems during menstrual cycles. These lead to daytime sleepiness and fatigue.
  • Nearly 85% of women experience hot flashes during menopause. Hot flashes can cause night sweats, interrupting sound sleep. They're also more likely to develop obstructive sleep apnea during menopause. Sleep apnea causes breathing pauses that interfere with consistent sleep, causing sufferers to wake up feeling tired.
  • Women are more likely to experience pain, sleep apnea, and depression during pregnancy. They may also experience restless legs syndrome, which causes the uncontrollable urge to move one's legs while resting or lying down. All of these issues create great discomfort during sleep, leading to sleep deprivation.

Women Take More Naps And Fall Asleep Faster Than Men

These reasons may explain why women are more likely to take naps during the day. Naps feel like a quick way to make up for missed sleep and recharge before tackling more tasks. These short snoozes are often added by people to their daily sleep hours, making them think they get adequate sleep. 

But don't be fooled – naps don't provide the deep sleep stages that make people feel rested and energetic. Uninterrupted sleep is better-quality sleep. During a complete night of sleep, we cycle through various sleep stages: light, deep, and REM sleep. With every subsequent stage, we get more REM sleep.

REM sleep is essential for memory building, emotional processing, dreaming, and brain development. But when we have disrupted sleep, the cycle has to start all over again. This cuts REM sleep short during naps and other brief sleeping cycles.

Women also fall asleep faster than men, suggesting a stronger need for extra sleep or higher levels of fatigue. They also spend more time in the deep sleep stage than men – the stage that strengthens your immune system and repairs the body. However, this changes during menopause, as older women take longer to drift to sleep and start experiencing fewer deep sleep cycles.

Frequently Asked Questions On Whether Women Sleep More Than Men

How much sleep does a middle-aged woman need?

Sleep expert recommendations say women should get at least 7 to 9 hours of sleep to feel alert and rested. 

How much more sleep do women need?

The jury's still out on how much more sleep women need compared to men. However, some studies have stated that women need to get  at least 11 minutes more sleep than men. 

Do women lose more sleep than men?

On average, women lose more sleep than men. This sleep interruption may be due to fluctuating hormone levels caused by menstruation, pregnancy, or menopause.

Improve Your Sleep Quality With A Comfortable Sleep Environment

If you're having problems calming your body before sleep and getting enough rest, you need to develop healthy sleep hygiene. Get sleep products like masks, cozy bedding, or pillows that will help you sleep soundly. The deeper and longer your sleep, the more rested and less stressed you'll feel when you wake up