If someone were to ask you if you got enough sleep last night, would your answer be yes? Yeah, us neither. It could have been any number of things; your teeny bladder forced you to get up and go, one of your kids started screaming for a glass of water, one of your other kids jumped into your bed after having a bad dream, or life or your job is stressing you out and you simply can’t get to a place of peace.
That’s life, right? No harm, no foul. Well, maybe some harm, and a little bit of foul, because according to a recent study, in some cruel twist of fate, women need more sleep than men.
According to Jim Horne, a sleep neuroscientist and former director of Loughborough University’s Sleep Research Center in Leicestershire, England, women’s busy, multi-tasking brains work differently than men’s and require 20 more minutes of shut-eye to “recover and repair itself” before waking up and starting it all over again.
“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,” Horne told the Daily Mail. “‘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.”
He added: “Women tend to multi-task — they do lots at once and are flexible — and so they use more of their actual brain than men do. Because of that, their sleep need is greater.
“A man who has a complex job that involves a lot of decision-making and lateral thinking may also need more sleep than the average male — though probably still not as much as a woman.”
Combine that with being a mom and a good, long sleep probably isn’t the cards.
We already know that not getting enough restorative sleep can increase health risks like heart disease and obesity. But for women, in particular, a study out of Duke University also found that women who don’t sleep enough reportedly experience higher levels of anger, depression and aggression. Yeah, we get that.
But it’s not all bad news. Horne insists the most important thing a person can do is “not to worry about not having enough sleep.”
He concluded to the Mail: “If you have a bad night’s sleep or a whole night without sleep, you don’t need to go to bed for 14 hours. It is only the deep, refreshing sleep that you need to catch up on, so you need to try to recoup only about a third to a half of what you missed.”
So if you’re yawning as you read this, don’t sweat it. Just try and do yourself a solid and get a solid sleep. It’ll do you good.