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Sleep is Different for Men and Women

Research has discovered that gender makes a difference when it comes to sleep. Charles Czeiler, director of sleep medicine at Harvard Medical School, has found that the sleep patterns of men and women differ.


The first difference is the sleep cycle, which is affected by the way in which hormones are regulated. The main hormone in women is estragon, and this tends to shorten the length of the sleep cycle. At times of mensuration, pregnancy and menopause, hormone production changes and this results in women finding it difficult to get to sleep.

The major hormone in men is testosterone, and this causes men to sleep longer and wake up less frequently.

The body’s internal clock

All humans have an internal clock known as the circadian rhythm, and this is faster in women than men.

Czeiler has stated that:

"[The body clock] runs faster in women than it does men. It's only about a tenth of an hour but it adds up so that women, in general, their internal clocks are set to about an hour or an hour and half earlier than men, and that means it wakes them up earlier in the morning and it's harder to stay awake in the evening."

Sleep apnea

Men are more likely to suffer from sleep apnea than women. People with sleep apnea stop breathing frequently as they sleep. This results in not enough oxygen reaching the brain, and this can cause a number of health problems.

Sleep apnea is caused by fat deposits around the neck, which tend to be larger in men than women. Women can get sleep apnea, but there is a danger of it being undiagnosed because doctors see sleep apnea primarily as a male disease.


The National Sleep Foundation in America found that 63 per cent of women and 54 per cent of men suffer from insomnia a few nights a week. Fortunately, there are a number of ways to cure lack of sleep.

Though there are sleep differences between men and women, there are general guidelines that can help both men and women sleep well. These include going to bed at the same time each night, eliminating stimulants such as coffee or alcohol late at night, and keeping the bedroom cool, dark and free from clutter. In addition, some experts recommend removing all electronics from the bedroom.

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