The Difference Between a Man and Woman’s Sleep

This content was created by the National Sleep Foundation


The battle of the sexes starts in the bedroom.

You and your partner zonk out the minute that your heads hit the pillow—but that’s where your slumber similarities end. In fact, the way that men and women get their zzz's, the amount that they require, and the sleep challenges that they face are quite different. And, unfortunately, women have more hurdles to a great night’s sleep than their male counterparts. Take a look at some of the discrepancies. 


  • Need More Slumber. Women require about 20 more minutes of sleep than men do. That’s because they expend more mental energy each day—in other words, they multitask and use more of their brains. Sleep is the time when the brain regenerates, and since women’s brains have more work to do during slumber, they require more of it.
  • Experience More Sleep Troubles. While men are more prone to [sleep_term id="1227"], women suffer from [sleep_term id="1197"] two to three times more often. About 15 percent of women report having sleep troubles, versus only eight percent of men. (Unfortunately, when women pass menopause, their likelihood of developing sleep apnea is about equal to that of men.)
  • Don't Handle Sleep Deprivation Well. Women have a tougher time with inadequate shut-eye. Compared with men, women are impacted more by sleep deprivation, especially when it comes to their mental state. They report more anger, depression, and hostility than men when they don’t get enough sleep. Insufficient slumber can also increase the risk of diabetes and cardiovascular disease for both men and women.