A recent study has brought light on the reason why women have trouble sleeping. It seems that female’s circadian or internal body clock is faster than the men’s. Women are twice as inclined to experience insomnia or other sleep disturbances than men.
A psychiatry professor at McGill University in Montreal, Dr. Diane Boivin, who is also the lead author of the research explained the difference between circadian rhythm of women and men. She says that they operate on distinct internal time zones. Boivin also mentioned that women tend to go to bed later because their internal clock is moved earlier.
The research also proves that women’s 24-hour circadian day also improves faster than men’s.
According to the National Sleep Foundation, women are more likely to have trouble sleeping and experience insomnia or daytime sleeping at least a several days a month.
The vice chairperson of experimental activities at the Society for Women’s Health Research, Monica Mallampalli, says that although the study is small, it brings valuable knowledge on the sex differences in sleep in the context of the internal clock and circadian rhythm.
The study involved 11 women and 15 men with an average age of 25 years old. Participants were isolated in rooms that had no windows for 36 hours. The scientists controlled the participant’s exposure to light while their melatonin levels, changes in body temperature, alertness and sleep were intensely monitored. The lights were dimly turned on while individuals were awake and turned off during sleep.
They shifted one-hour waking episodes accompanied by hour-long sleeping moments. Scientists analyzed the scheduled nap opportunities for both men and women at different times of the day.
The findings showed that women obtained lower scores on subjective measurements of nighttime vigilance when associated with men’s results. It could be why women who work shifts are more likely to suffer work-related accidents or encounter sleepiness or fatigue. Moreover, the end of the night seemed to be the most vulnerable period for females when their sleep signals were not as high as in men.
The professor at the David Geffen School of Medicine at the University of California, Jennifer Martin, says that women who experience trouble sleeping should focus more on the minimizing of factors that might disrupt them and try to follow a consistent rise-time that best suits their usual wake-up time.
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