Sleep is the foundation of our health. It is while we sleep that we repair our bodies, consolidate our memories, and recharge ourselves. Not only does it help us prevent illnesses, but it also allows us to feel energetic and in a good mood. But then, how much sleep should we get, exactly? The mythical 8 hours of sleep to be in shape may not be the universal norm, especially when it comes to the different needs of men and women. Because each person needs a specific amount of time in the land of dreams to function at their best. To learn more about this, Glamour UK asked Aileen Alexander, a physician specializing in women’s health and sleep, and the founder of the online coaching site Nourish.

Hormones and mental load
Several scientific studies have examined our sleep habits based on gender and found that women sleep an average of 6 to 28 minutes more than men. However, Dr. Alexander warns that research in this area remains limited. So, do women really need more sleep than men? “In terms of physiology, female hormones play an important role in sleep,” explains the specialist. “This ranges from menstruation to pregnancy to menopause. All these scenarios can have a negative impact on sleep. Overall, this means that women have a greater need for sleep and are more likely to take naps during the day.”

Women also tend to suffer from insomnia and have more difficulty falling asleep than men. Other studies have shown that a large part still assume the majority of household chores in their home and get up at night to take care of children or elderly parents. This could be another reason for their increased sleep needs.

“Listening to your body”
In conclusion, “sleep needs are different for everyone and should be individualized, not stereotyped based on gender,” says Aileen Alexander. “The recommended amount of sleep for an adult is eight hours, but some do well with seven hours and others need nine hours. I always recommend listening to your body. If you don’t feel fresh and alert in the morning, you can start by improving the quality of your sleep.”

Lack of sleep can have consequences on our reaction time, which can lead to car accidents and mistakes at work. Mood disorders, as well as the risks of anxiety and depression, are also impacted, as well as health problems such as obesity, diabetes, heart disorders, hormonal imbalances, and impaired immune function.