She sleeps more but she falls asleep with more difficulty. A new report released by the The Statistics Canada has found that men sleep an average of 8 hours and 7 minutes per night, compared to 8 hours and 18 minutes in the case of women. But while 25% of the men face trouble when becoming asleep, the number goes up to 35% in the case of women.
In the case of men and women with full-time employment, the discrepancy
in sleep time per night increased to 14 minutes. In the case of part-time workers or the unemployed, men and women slept similarly long periods each night.
The research employed information from the 2005 General Society Survey, which gathered data on 19,500 people aged 15 and over.
"Hormonal changes, depression and anxiety, as well as whether or not women simply need more sleep than men, are just some theories that researchers need to explore," said Julie Carrier, a psychology professor at the Universite de Montreal and a sleep researcher at Sacre-Coeur Hospital.
"The survey did show women who exercise have a better quality of sleep than those who do not. Women who exercise sleep 19 minutes less than those who don't. Now that's a little counterintuitive because exercise helps you relax, it's a reliever of stress. But, there's a lower incidence of women who exercise saying they have problems falling asleep or staying asleep," said author Matt Hurst.
The research also analyzed how factors like income, job type and marital status impacted sleep patterns. For example, those earning at least $60,000 annually sleep 40 minutes per night less than persons gaining $20,000 a year. People working full time sleep 24 minutes less per night than those with no regular employment.
Working over 9 hours daily translated into a night sleep 41 minutes shorter compared to that of those who work less than 4 hours a day. Having a daily commute of 1 to 30 minutes means a night sleep 22 minutes longer when compared to people commuting for over one hour daily.
Men experiencing time shortage sleep 35 minutes less per night, while women in the same situation lose 25 minutes of night sleep.
Being married shortens your night sleep by 24 minutes compared to single people. Parents of one child lose 17 minutes of sleep per night, compared to childless couples, while the second child adds another 8 minutes loss.
"People are looking for any extra time they can find in their schedules because they are filling their days with work, children and active social lives. Therefore, they feel that the only place they can find the needed time is to cut into their sleep," said Carrier. But the researchers also signal the health risks posed by the lack of sleep.
"The more research we are doing on sleep the more we realize that sleeping is not just important to have a good mood or to be vigilant or to not feel sleepy. It's also very important for plenty of other body functions, for example, for your immune system, for your cardiovascular system. The fact that those in a higher income bracket are sleeping less opposes findings of previous studies on income's relationship to diet and exercise. It's interesting because for many other health habits, for example eating habits or exercising, usually you see that with an increase of money that you make, people will tend to smoke less, to eat better, etc.," added Carrier.