Male and female brains are not the same. In a recent article we concluded that male brains are bigger and function differently from female brains. Now let’s look closer at the relationship between the brain and sleep.
Do men need more sleep because they have a bigger brain?
In short, the answer is no.
Research shows that women need more sleep because their brains work harder. They found that women have more complex brain activity than men. Women are multi-taskers and use more regions of the brain during the day, resulting in a bigger need for sleep. Researcher and sleep expert Jim Horne explains: “One of the major functions of sleep is to allow the brain to recover and repair itself.”
A woman needs around 20 minutes more sleep than a man, according to Horne. On average, a woman even needs more sleep than a man with a high demanding job that involves complex tasks and decision making.
Male versus female: the difference in how their brains work
A study concluded that male brains have more connections within each brain hemisphere, while female brains have more connections between the two hemispheres. Due to this, men are able to focus deeply on one task at a time, while the female brain is better at performing multiple functions simultaneously. Does this sound familiar?
Dr. Apostolos Georgopoulos, Brain Science Centre director, argues that women process information about five times faster than men in many different tasks – and use much less of their brain to do identical cognitive performance.
Although women need more sleep, women report sleep difficulties more than men. One of the most reported issues, is waking up more during the night. This is due to the fact that women have a higher sensitivity to noise than men.
It’s however good to know that people tend to underestimate the amount of sleep they get. So although you may feel like you haven’t slept a wink, you probably still got quite some sleep.