Women officially need more sleep than men, because our brains are more complex

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Women officially need more sleep than men, because our brains are more complex

Treat yourself to a lie-in tomorrow

People who sleep a lot are too often labelled as lazy and made to feel guilty for wasting the day in bed. Oversleeping is frowned upon, but it is essential for allowing our brains to repair and recover themselves. Now thanks to important new research, it turns out that women actually do need more sleep than men.

No, that isn’t a reference to the dated idea that we need more “beauty sleep.” It’s actually because women’s brains work harder than men’s during the day, according to a study led by Jim Horne, who founded the Sleep Research Centre at Loughborough University.

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The study, which involved 210 middle-aged men and women, found that, on average, women need 20 minutes more sleep than men. It is thought that the results point towards women’s brains working harder during the day because they tend to multitask more than men. Multitasking involves using more parts of your brain so more sleep is needed to repair it over night.

Professor Horne said: “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.

“The average is 20 minutes more, but some women may need slightly more or less than this.”

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However, men with complex jobs that involve a lot of decision making also need more sleep than the average man. In the study, poor sleeping among women was linked to psychological distress and depression, but the same side effects were not found to be true for men.

So, go on, put your alarm on snooze once more. You deserve it.

@sophlwilson

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