A lot has been written and said about the psychophysiological differences between men and women. It’s time to talk about another very important part of our lives: sleep. Is the dream of a man different from how a woman sleeps? Who sleeps longer, who has more dreams, who suffers from insomnia more often? All this and much more will tell MedAboutMe.
Who sleeps more?
For some reason, it is believed that women like to sleep much more than men. In fact, this is not so: according to statistics, everyone sleeps about the same length of time, 7–8 hours a day. But there are still certain differences.
Studies conducted in different countries have shown that in order to sleep well, women need to sleep a little more. Really not much — just 20 minutes. Scientists believe that this is due to the fact that the brain of a woman spends more energy during wakefulness, working in multitasking mode. Restoration, therefore, takes more time. Men, you’d better take care of breakfast!
Who has more sensitive sleep?
The answer to this question is absolutely unambiguous: in women. Even in a dream, a woman picks up external signals — the child’s breathing and his crying, noises and rustles. And suddenly these rustles portend danger? What if it’s time to wake up the soundly sleeping warrior-defender so that he can deal with the source of the frightening noise?
True, waking up a man can be very difficult: they really sleep very soundly. It remains to be hoped that the unknown danger will also be frightened by the heroic snoring and disappear into the darkness.
Problems with snoring do not depend on gender, although the image of a snorer is traditionally associated with full-blooded fat men with a thick neck and a red face. This nocturnal problem is, unfortunately, familiar to many women too, especially if they are overweight.
Snoring is the real problem. And not only because it interferes with the sleep of others within a radius of 100 meters. Snoring can lead to the development of certain diseases and worsen the course of existing ones:
- arterial hypertension;
- ischemic heart disease;
By the way, sleep researchers say: when a person snores, he does not dream.
Women, with their more sensitive sleep, suffer more from partner snoring. Men should not be offended if their beloved goes to sleep in another room: it is much better to take care of your health and try to cure snoring.
Dreams are seen by everyone without exception, although many men are convinced that they do not dream anything. It’s just that the stronger sex quickly and completely forgets what they dreamed about at night. And emotional women remember perfectly, and then they can pass the whole day under the impression of a dream.
The content of dreams also varies. Men most often have aggressive, dynamic, intimate dreams, and strangers often act as partners. Women dream of familiar people and situations that have happened or are coming in reality. Intimacy is also a dream, and the dreamer may well experience the most real and full-fledged orgasm from the dreaming sexual intercourse. However, this also happens to men.
The difference is that all men dream about sex, but about 30% of women have never seen erotic dreams. So say researchers from Kinsey University.
Everyone has nightmares from time to time, and the plot is most often associated with physical aggression in men and interpersonal conflicts in women. A man’s nightmare is a world war, a natural disaster, a cataclysm. Female — betrayal of a loved one, break with a friend, physical abuse, loss of loved ones.
Sleep after sex
It is believed that intimacy is the best sleeping pill for men. That after the completion of the act, they instantly fall asleep, while the woman wants to prolong the feeling of tender intimacy.
But in those cases when intimacy did not happen, a man cannot fall asleep much longer than a woman. And when a friend is already sweetly sniffing, buried in his shoulder, he is still awake. Probably hoping that she would suddenly wake up and change her mind.
How does sleep deprivation affect mood and health?
In men, from lack of sleep, the ability to concentrate worsens, attention and reaction speed decrease. The mood in this case can be quite normal.
A sleepy woman turns into a vixen, a harpy, a Baba Yaga. She is irritable and can be aggressive. If lack of sleep becomes chronic, expect trouble: a real depression can develop with all the ensuing troubles. Men, honestly, if you take over the preparation of breakfast, everyone will be better …
But worst of all: the results of some studies indicate that systematic sleep deprivation can lead to the development of breast tumors in women. Lack of sleep in this case can complement the bouquet of causes of the onset of the disease.
Who is more likely to suffer from insomnia?
Traditionally, insomnia is considered a female ailment. Scientists have found that women are not only more willing to share their experiences, including those associated with sleep disorders, and therefore it seems that they suffer from this problem more often. Features of the hormonal system do more often lead to insomnia in women.
When is the best time to sleep?
Everyone, without exception, is more useful to sleep at night. But there are interesting studies carried out by scientists from the Planck Institute in Munich. Researchers have found that a full night’s sleep improves cognitive abilities in women, that is, makes them smarter. The conclusions were drawn based on the analysis of the frequency and localization of bursts of brain activity during the phase of non-REM sleep, not accompanied by dreams, and the results of testing for intellectual abilities. In men, a similar relationship was found with an afternoon nap lasting up to 100 minutes. It’s good for men to sleep during the day!
However, a little sleep during the day is good for women too: Greek scientists found that an afternoon nap significantly reduces the risk of developing a heart attack.
Sleep and its quality in women largely depends on the state of the hormonal system. The depth and duration of sleep is affected by the menstrual cycle, pregnancy and menopause, the regularity of ovulation or hormonal disruptions. Men are spared from all this.
In the first half of the cycle, the phase of REM sleep is longer, in the second half, the phase of non-REM sleep is lengthened.
Complaints about sleep disorders are often heard by pregnant women. This is due not only to the fact that sleep is negatively affected by a growing fetus, a decrease in lung volume, and a more frequent need to urinate.
A pregnant woman wants to sleep often, and at any time of the day: her sleep becomes polyphasic. But, despite the increase in the amount of time spent in sleep, its quality and effectiveness are declining. The polyphasic nature of sleep is typical for the first and third trimesters of pregnancy.
The time to fall asleep becomes the longest in the postpartum period. This time is also characterized by the most superficial and shallow sleep: the mother is constantly attuned to her child and picks up the slightest signals even in a dream.
Worst of all, women sleep when the time comes for hormonal changes in the body — menopause. This is due to many reasons, from “hot flashes” to pressure surges and mood swings. The appointment of hormone replacement therapy helps in this case to solve problems with sleep disorders, among other causes of poor health.
Diana Boivin, MD, expert in sleep and circadian rhythms, McGill University, Montreal, Canada
We started researching sleep because more than 30% of Canadians suffer from sleep disorders, and 15% develop various functional problems because of this.
Pretty quickly, we realized that you can not approach the solution of problems with sleep in men and women in the same way. Further studies have shown that there is a difference, and it is quite significant in certain aspects.
Our research has found that women are indeed more likely to suffer from insomnia, and this is largely due to the peculiarities of the female endocrine system and hormonal balance.
Women tend to fall asleep and wake up earlier than men, and this is due to their biological clock. Lack of sleep affects women more, they are more likely to feel tired and overwhelmed in the morning. At night, women are less attentive, it is more difficult for them to concentrate, so working in night shifts is undesirable for them.
Particularly careful attitude requires the female body during pregnancy and menopause, when under the influence of hormones, sleep disorders are most common.
For men, it’s enough just to sleep 7–8 hours a day, and if possible, also during the day for 40–90 minutes.