Victory is OURS, ladies! Let us rejoice, for SCIENCE has shown up and dropped some incredible news on us! In a study from Duke University, researches have decreed: women NEED more sleep than men. NEED. IT. The study indicates that women who don’t get enough sleep suffer both physically and emotionally. Of course, any person who has ever woken me can tell you that they have suffered physically and emotionally, but, I mean, come on, never wake a sleeping bear, am I right?
Michael Breus (clinical psychologist, sleep expert, and my new hero) discovered a significant difference in the amount of sleep needed for women vs men based on individual ability to function on lack of sleep. He reports, “we found that women had more depression, women had more anger, and women had more hostility early in the morning.” It’s possible he’s been reading my boyfriend’s diary, but my boyfriend swears that no such thing has ever occurred and that he loves me and I am the most beautiful woman he’s ever met.
Researchers have made clear that there are many contributing biological factors to this phenomenon, however some believe it comes down to one simple thing: mental energy expenditure. “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,” says Jim Horne, director of the Sleep Research Center at Loughborough University in England. We sleep to allow our brains time to relax and recover from a long day of running the world and not getting credit for it. Having that rest interrupted can have traumatic long-term effects. Also, traumatic short-term effects, specifically in regards to those who have to interact with us before a cup or pot of coffee.
This data, when added to the increasing number of reports emerging on the intersection of overall health and sleep, is incredibly valuable. When you consider that the average adult needs between 7-9 hours of sleep and that most fall significantly short of that, is there any wonder we are all experiencing the multitude of health problems that plague us today? Do yourself a favor: close your eyes, take a deep breath, and allow yourself to get some rest. It’s okay, Science said you can sleep in.