Women Sleep More, but Men Happier With Their Zzzs

Scientists look at sleep to explore other sex differences

By Mark Russell,  Newser Staff

Posted Aug 23, 2011 12:01 PM CDT

(Newser) – Women tend to sleep longer and deeper than men, awakening less often in the night—but men are more likely to be satisfied with the quality of their sleep, reports the Wall Street Journal in an overview of the sleeping habits of the sexes. Because sleep plays such an important role in overall health, scientists are increasingly curious about these gender differences, which some suspect could go far in explaining why women live longer. "Women on average have longer sleep than men; women on average are healthier than men. It could be that those are related," said one professor.

Some things that are known: Men and women have different body clocks. Men's average "circadian period" of 24 hours, 11 minutes is six minutes longer than women's. Because women tend to get more deep sleep than men, they can endure sleep deprivation better. But scientists agree more research is needed—for example, women are 50% more likely to suffer from insomnia than men. Is that because of biology or because women are more likely to suffer from depression and anxiety, which can lead to insomnia?

Sleep science is taking a look at the differences between the sexes, looking for connections with other health issues.
Sleep science is taking a look at the differences between the sexes, looking for connections with other health issues.   (Shutterstock)
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