Study: Women Need More Sleep Than Men Because Their Brains Are More ‘Complex’

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By Amanda Froelich

Despite their shared interests and similarities, men and women can be incredibly different. In fact, they can be so different, women, on average, need 20 minutes of extra sleep each day. Why? Because, according to a new study, women’s brains are “more complex.”

“One of the major functions of sleep is to allow the brain to recover and repair itself,” said Professor Jim Horne, a sleep expert and former director of the Sleep Research Centre at Loughborough University.”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 continued: “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. 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.”

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Horne said this is because women’s brains are simply wired differently from men’s or, they are more complex. As a result, their need for sleep is slightly greater. “The average is 20 minutes more, but some women may need slightly more or less than this,” he said.

This recent finding may also explain why a man’s brain ages faster than a woman’s. Horne explained, “A typical 75-year-old woman has a comparable brain age to a 70-year-old man. We are unsure why. The fact that a woman’s brain tends to get more time to relax and repair itself may explain it.”

The research was conducted on a sample set of 210 middle-aged men and women. Reportedly, the study also found that poor sleep among women could be linked to a number of side effects. These include: increased levels of psychological distress, greater feelings of hostility, depression, and anger. These symptoms were visible in women who slept poorly, but not men.


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Source: The Independent


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