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Is sleep time evidence that men and women are different?

15-08-2014

Is sleep time evidence that men and women are different?

Men are from Mars, women from Venus, or so they say. Even if we really are both just from Planet Earth it doesn’t mean that there are not some major differences between us. While we have greater equality than ever before, there is no denying that at a fundamental level men and women are different.

How are we different?

So how are men and women different. Well obviously we have different bodily functions. Then there are other less obvious differences. One is that while women are better at remember where things are men are better at realising where they are. This goes back to our hunter gatherer roots, where women needed to know where all the food provisions were, while men needed to know where they were when they were hunting.

Even in sleep we are different

We are also different it would appear in the amount of sleep that we need. A number of studies have shown that women need more sleep than men. For example, a group of researchers at Duke University have found that, compared to men, women experience greater mental and physical consequences from lack of sleep. The study estimated men and women’s need for sleep by assessing their ability to deal with lack of sleep. According to the study leader, the experiment found there was a marked difference between the genders: “We found that women had more depression, women had more anger, and women had more hostility early in the morning.”

But women get less sleep than men even though they spend more time in bed.

So while women need more sleep, it turns out that they are actually getting less sleep than men even though they are spending more time in bed. Another study found that while women spend longer in bed than men – they end up getting less sleep. The study believes that the stresses of balancing work and family life could be behind the reason women spend less of their bed time actually asleep. Their study looked at around 8,500 people and found that the average person gets 8 hours and 41 minutes of time in bed, though almost two hours of that is not spent asleep, with just 6 hours and 53 minutes. The average woman spends 8 hours 47 minutes in bed or 15 minutes more than the typical male, while their average sleeping is duration is 6 hours and 48 minutes – 11 minutes less than for the man of the house.

Proof that men and women are different

So while women need more sleep than men and they are actually spending more time in bed trying to get that sleep they are not actually getting more but less than men. So next time your wife or girlfriend says she is tired, maybe you better respect that because no doubt she is!
 


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