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Surprising Research Explains Why Women Need More Sleep Than Men

Surprising Research Explains Why Women Need More Sleep Than Men

“A typical 75-year-old woman has a comparable brain age to a 70-year-old man. We are unsure why. The fact that a woman’s brain tends to get more time to relax and repair itself may explain it.”, according to Horne.

On average, women need 20 more minutes of snoozing than men. Research says that the extra shut-eye is required because their brains are busier with multitasking than men’s brains are. When you’re sleeping, your brain goes into a recovery mode where it disengages from your senses and focuses on making repairs. Everyone needs this time to function, but that extra 20 minutes of sleep gives women time to recover from the previous day and to prepare for the day ahead.

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Women Are Affected More By Sleep Quality

A 2008 study conducted by Duke Medical Center took on 210 middle-aged men and women for a sleep study. All the participants were non-smokers, not on any medication, and none of them had any type of sleep disorder.

The study used a sleep-quality questionnaire to measure how participants viewed their recent sleep history. The researchers then took blood samples to look at biomarkers for diabetes and heart disease.

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Around 40 percent of the participants were deemed to be poor sleepers, according to the questionnaire results. However, there were dramatic differences in the health of poor sleepers based on their gender. Women who slept poorly were more prone to feelings of anger, depression, and hostility. The less they slept, the greater the likelihood of experiencing psychological distress. These markers did not appear in the men in the study — even those who slept very poorly.

Basically, women who sleep poorly don’t get enough shut-eye to let their brains recover. When their brains are tired, thinking is generally harder the next day.

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Yet, Women Still Sleep Poorly

Be it an active mind or biology, women tend to sleep poorly, despite how much sleep affects their overall happiness. According to the National Sleep Foundation in the UK, there are several reasons that women do not get the sleep they need at various points in their lives.

For example, pregnancy often leads to sleep disturbances because of weight gain or the position of the baby in utero. Women going through menopause also have difficulty sleeping because of hot flashes. Women who cohabitate or share a bed with a partner, especially one who uses a cellphone in bed, are also likely to have erratic sleeping patterns. Cell phones are known to cause infertility, but using them close to bed can also disrupt sleep. Women are also more likely to lose sleep while worrying about problems both in and out of their control.

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The problem is so great that a study from the University of Surrey found that 18 percent of women sleep poorly five nights a week, while only eight percent of men have the same complaint. However, a contrasting Dutch study showed that women frequently underestimated the amount of sleep they actually got.

Not An Absolute Rule

According to Professor John Horne, women need that extra 20 minutes on average. However, that is not a rule. Some women may need more than 20 minutes, while others may need less. You also shouldn’t rule that 20 minutes out of a man’s requirements either. Horne also says that a man with a complex job who makes a lot of decisions may also need more sleep. Though, he admits that even those men still may not need as much as women.

Featured photo credit: Timothy Krause via flickr.com

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Last Updated on January 21, 2020

The Best Way to Create a Vision for the Life You Want

The Best Way to Create a Vision for the Life You Want

Creating a vision for your life might seem like a frivolous, fantastical waste of time, but it’s not: creating a compelling vision of the life you want is actually one of the most effective strategies for achieving the life of your dreams. Perhaps the best way to look at the concept of a life vision is as a compass to help guide you to take the best actions and make the right choices that help propel you toward your best life.

your vision of where or who you want to be is the greatest asset you have

    Why You Need a Vision

    Experts and life success stories support the idea that with a vision in mind, you are more likely to succeed far beyond what you could otherwise achieve without a clear vision. Think of crafting your life vision as mapping a path to your personal and professional dreams. Life satisfaction and personal happiness are within reach. The harsh reality is that if you don’t develop your own vision, you’ll allow other people and circumstances to direct the course of your life.

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    How to Create Your Life Vision

    Don’t expect a clear and well-defined vision overnight—envisioning your life and determining the course you will follow requires time, and reflection. You need to cultivate vision and perspective, and you also need to apply logic and planning for the practical application of your vision. Your best vision blossoms from your dreams, hopes, and aspirations. It will resonate with your values and ideals, and will generate energy and enthusiasm to help strengthen your commitment to explore the possibilities of your life.

    What Do You Want?

    The question sounds deceptively simple, but it’s often the most difficult to answer. Allowing yourself to explore your deepest desires can be very frightening. You may also not think you have the time to consider something as fanciful as what you want out of life, but it’s important to remind yourself that a life of fulfillment does not usually happen by chance, but by design.

    It’s helpful to ask some thought-provoking questions to help you discover the possibilities of what you want out of life. Consider every aspect of your life, personal and professional, tangible and intangible. Contemplate all the important areas, family and friends, career and success, health and quality of life, spiritual connection and personal growth, and don’t forget about fun and enjoyment.

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    Some tips to guide you:

    • Remember to ask why you want certain things
    • Think about what you want, not on what you don’t want.
    • Give yourself permission to dream.
    • Be creative. Consider ideas that you never thought possible.
    • Focus on your wishes, not what others expect of you.

    Some questions to start your exploration:

    • What really matters to you in life? Not what should matter, what does matter.
    • What would you like to have more of in your life?
    • Set aside money for a moment; what do you want in your career?
    • What are your secret passions and dreams?
    • What would bring more joy and happiness into your life?
    • What do you want your relationships to be like?
    • What qualities would you like to develop?
    • What are your values? What issues do you care about?
    • What are your talents? What’s special about you?
    • What would you most like to accomplish?
    • What would legacy would you like to leave behind?

    It may be helpful to write your thoughts down in a journal or creative vision board if you’re the creative type. Add your own questions, and ask others what they want out of life. Relax and make this exercise fun. You may want to set your answers aside for a while and come back to them later to see if any have changed or if you have anything to add.

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    What Would Your Best Life Look Like?

    Describe your ideal life in detail. Allow yourself to dream and imagine, and create a vivid picture. If you can’t visualize a picture, focus on how your best life would feel. If you find it difficult to envision your life 20 or 30 years from now, start with five years—even a few years into the future will give you a place to start. What you see may surprise you. Set aside preconceived notions. This is your chance to dream and fantasize.

    A few prompts to get you started:

    • What will you have accomplished already?
    • How will you feel about yourself?
    • What kind of people are in your life? How do you feel about them?
    • What does your ideal day look like?
    • Where are you? Where do you live? Think specifics, what city, state, or country, type of community, house or an apartment, style and atmosphere.
    • What would you be doing?
    • Are you with another person, a group of people, or are you by yourself?
    • How are you dressed?
    • What’s your state of mind? Happy or sad? Contented or frustrated?
    • What does your physical body look like? How do you feel about that?
    • Does your best life make you smile and make your heart sing? If it doesn’t, dig deeper, dream bigger.

    It’s important to focus on the result, or at least a way-point in your life. Don’t think about the process for getting there yet—that’s the next stepGive yourself permission to revisit this vision every day, even if only for a few minutes. Keep your vision alive and in the front of your mind.

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    Plan Backwards

    It may sound counter-intuitive to plan backwards rather than forwards, but when you’re planning your life from the end result, it’s often more useful to consider the last step and work your way back to the first. This is actually a valuable and practical strategy for making your vision a reality.

    • What’s the last thing that would’ve had to happen to achieve your best life?
    • What’s the most important choice you would’ve had to make?
    • What would you have needed to learn along the way?
    • What important actions would you have had to take?
    • What beliefs would you have needed to change?
    • What habits or behaviors would you have had to cultivate?
    • What type of support would you have had to enlist?
    • How long will it have taken you to realize your best life?
    • What steps or milestones would you have needed to reach along the way?

    Now it’s time to think about your first step, and the next step after that. Ponder the gap between where you are now and where you want to be in the future. It may seem impossible, but it’s quite achievable if you take it step-by-step.

    It’s important to revisit this vision from time to time. Don’t be surprised if your answers to the questions, your technicolor vision, and the resulting plans change. That can actually be a very good thing; as you change in unforeseeable ways, the best life you envision will change as well. For now, it’s important to use the process, create your vision, and take the first step towards making that vision a reality.

    Featured photo credit: Matt Noble via unsplash.com

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