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16th Feb 2024

Does your gender play a role in your sleep? Research says it does

Jody Coffey

Gender sleep research

Is anyone else permanently tired all the time or is it just me?

New research has revealed that gender can play a role in sleep disturbances.

Not only does it affect our salary and work prospects, but it’s also affecting our sleep.

One of the key findings from the Mattress Online study discovered that just 14 percent of women in Ireland are getting enough sleep compared to 20 percent of men.

Searches for ‘How much sleep do I need’ have increased by 51 percent increase globally since the start of winter

3,000 adults took part in the Mattress Online survey and the results are pretty interesting.

The study found that the most common sleep duration for both men (27 percent) and women (29 percent) is five to six hours a night.

However, we should be getting at least seven to eight hours a night, but who really gets that much sleep?

The results also revealed that one in 10 women get less than four hours of sleep a night, compared to almost one in 12 men.

Over a third of females (33 percent) consistently wake up in the middle of the night, compared to less than a quarter of men (23 percent).

Eight percent of men get between eight and nine hours of sleep, compared to five percent of women.

Why is sleep different for women and men?

Women are more prone to insomnia, anxiety, and depression, as well as hormonal changes that can disrupt circadian rhythms leading to a night of disrupted sleep.

The study determines that gender-related factors, shaped by societal norms, also play a role.

Across the reproductive years, women may have sleep disruptions caused by fluctuations in hormones during the menstrual cycle, including mood swings, anxiety, depression, and physical symptoms like cramps, bloating, and tender breasts. 

Maintaining ‘Sleep Hygiene’ can help unlock better sleep

Sleep hygiene refers to healthy bedtime habits, maintaining routine, and ensuring optimum environmental factors for sleep.

Adjusting your sleep hygiene may help to send you off to more restful sleep and improve its quantity and quality.

These can range from daily exercise to implementing more mindful practices and removing certain habits or substances from your diet.

  • Incorporate regular exercise into your routine.
  • Maintain a consistent sleep schedule.
  • Engage in relaxation methods—yoga is highly effective for this purpose.
  • Reserve your bed solely for sleep and intimate activities.
  • Limit or avoid the consumption of caffeine, nicotine, and alcohol.
  • Refrain from napping after 3 pm
  • Put your phone away and avoid scrolling at least an hour before sleep

Introducing these habits into your daily routine may help you catch some well-needed sleep.