In the epic battle of the sexes, who comes out on top when it comes to sleep? Do men sleep better than women?
For the women among us, if you share a bed with a male partner, chances are that you’re marvelled at his ability to sleep throughout the night! You’re not alone in this particular battle of the sexes and research shows that men often have a better quality of sleep than women. That said, the research also shows that women function better than men when sleep deprived, so perhaps it all evens out in the end!
Below, our sleep experts have taken a closer look at the key differences between the way that men and women sleep:
One of the main reasons that men and women sleep differently is because our circadian rhythms (otherwise known as our natural body clocks) aren’t set to the same time or schedule.
On average, a woman’s circadian cycle is six minutes shorter than a man’s, which means that over time they wake up earlier and need to go to bed earlier.
Hormones have a huge impact on our sleep and women tend to be more regularly affected by these, especially during key biological phases such as menstruation, pregnancy and menopause.
Believe it or not, men and women don’t dream in the same way either. Firstly, men dream more than women and due to the fact that dreams usually take place during REM sleep, women tend to experience less REM sleep than men.
In much the same way that both sexes tend to express and interpret feelings differently, we also tend to look at our dreams from a unique perspective too. Research shows that women are more likely to dream about emotional situations (linked to family, friends or work), whereas men tend to dream about experiences such as fighting, driving or (ahem), sex.
This is, of course, quite a gendered generalisation and there are variations between all of our dreams, based on a wide variety of different factors from age to personality.
In general, women experience more issues with sleep than men. However, as we mentioned earlier, women tend to perform better than their male counterparts when they’re low on sleep, and can rebound more quickly from mild sleep deprivation!