The Globe and Mail set out to share why women sleep worse than men, but we should keep in mind that chronic sleep loss carries serious health risks for both sexes, including heart disease, stroke, obesity, diabetes, dementia and even a shorter life span.
“Women have a lot of different challenges with respect to their sleep that men don’t have to contend with,” says Elliot Lee, a sleep specialist at the Royal Mental Health Centre in Ottawa. “They have biological factors that predispose them to poor sleep, like pregnancy and the menstrual cycle, and menopause is an extreme challenge to sleep.”
According to Canadian research, women are more likely to have issues falling asleep than men, with a 2013 study finding that women also experience more physical and mental consequences from poor sleep, including anger, hostility and depression.
Additionally, women are more vulnerable to psychiatric difficulties, which can have an impact on their snooze such as mood and anxiety disorders. During child-rearing years insomnia among women isn’t uncommon, as science has shown that women’s stress levels and heart rate goes up much higher than men at the sound of a baby crying.
The good news is that women sleep about 15-20 minutes longer, compared to men, as more quality shut-eye is need to feel satisfied.
If you have been struggling to achieve deeper sleep try making some changes to your bedtime routine, including putting away electronics in the evening, taking a warm bath, writing in a journal, meditation, and other soothing activities to help your body and mind relax before tucking in.
Don’t handle stressful situations at night, and give yourself a pass to finish up chores the next day if your bedtime is approaching. Sleeping 7-9 hours in a dark, cool, and quiet environment without disruption will give you the extra energy, motivation and optimism that you need to enjoy more bright and productive days.