We've always been told we need 8 hours sleep. For women, that's not right.

Ahh sleep. Anyone else feel like a much-deserved nap right now?

Feeling well-rested is something we all desire... and need. 

For so long, we've been told that eight hours of sleep a night is the magic number everyone should aim for.

But it turns out, that might not be the case - at least not for women.

New research has revealed men and women are biologically wired to require different amounts of shut eye. 

Watch: an explainer on mental load. Post continues below.

Video via Nova. 

The study, carried out by PNAS Plus journal focused on circadian rhythms and how they typically differ between men and women.

Circadian rhythm is fancy science talk for our body's internal clock, referring to the 24-hour cycles our bodies run on that carry out our essential functions. This impacts our physiology and psychology.

The vast majority of scientific studies conducted throughout history on circadian rhythms have been based on research in men. Until now... 


This PNAS study tested men and women's sleeping habits and determined their levels of sleepiness, mood and cognition dependent on the hours of rested sleep they had. They found that women experience a longer circadian rhythm than men do and women experience a longer melatonin rhythm than men. This longer circadian rhythm means more sleep is needed for women. 

The research concludes men need seven to eight hours of sleep, whereas women need eight to 10 (ideally 10) hours. Two hours' difference might not sound like much between the sexes, but when you look at the bigger picture, it is a considerable disparity.

Women also have a higher risk of psychological and physical issues due to a lack of sleep than men do.

The academics behind the PNAS study determined that women are more affected by night-shift work than men. Plus, women need quality sleep to get their hormones back into balance. When a person sleeps, their hormone levels are being replenished — and no one should mess with a woman's cycle.

To add to the grim news (sorry) women are also more likely to experience various sleep problems such as insomnia and excessive sleepiness. According to the National Sleep Foundation, roughly 15 per cent of women report some kind of sleep challenge, compared to only eight per cent of men. 

Ultimately, a little self-served TLC goes a long way.

Feature Image: Canva. 

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