We know that lack of sleep affects our health immediately in a lot of visible ways—we struggle to focus, our appetite increases, and we feel lethargic. Chronic lack of sleep has more serious effects and new research shows that sleep loss affects women more than men. Duke University Medical Center researchers have discovered that women reporting sleep loss have a higher risk of heart disease, depression and type 2 diabetes. Researchers think that differences in hormones could be the reason why sleep loss affects women more than men.
Sleep deprivation affects men and women in similar ways, but the impact on women is greater. Sleep loss is linked to increased appetite with resulting weight gain, but the researchers at Duke found that women with poor quality sleep are usually more overweight than men with sleep problems. Lack of sleep can also hinder glucose tolerance, but the Duke researchers found that with poor sleepers, women have higher levels of insulin and blood sugar than men, which increases their risk of type 2 diabetes. Women with sleep deprivation also exhibit higher levels of C-reactive protein than men, which is linked to high blood pressure and heart disease.
Not only are women at a higher risk for conditions like type 2 diabetes and heart disease from sleep deprivation, researchers also say that women need more sleep in general than men—an average of 20 minutes more. The reason for this time difference is that women tend to multitask and use their brain more than men, and since they use their brain more, they need more rest to recharge.
- Medical Daily, “Why Women Need More Sleep Than Men: Research Shows Stronger Mental, Physical Response To Inadequate Rest”
- Daily Mail, “Women DO need more sleep than men: Multi-tasking means their brains take longer to recover”