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?

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.

About snoring

About snoring

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;
  • dia­betes;
  • ischemic heart dis­ease;
  • obe­si­ty.

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

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?

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.

Women’s dream

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.

Menstrual cycle

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.

Expert com­ment

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.


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