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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 July 10, 2020

How to Take Control of Your Life with Better Boundaries

How to Take Control of Your Life with Better Boundaries

We all have them—those hurtful, frustrating, offensive, manipulative people in our lives. No matter how hard we try to surround ourselves with positive and kind people, there will always be those who will disrespect, insult, berate, and misuse you if we allow them to.

We may, for a variety of reasons, not be able to avoid them, but we can determine how we interact with them and how we allow them to interact with us.

So, how to take control of your life and stop being pushed around?

Learning to set clear firm boundaries with the people in our lives at work and in our personal lives is the best way to protect ourselves from the negative effects of this kind of behavior.

What Boundaries Are (And What They’re Not)

Boundaries are limits

—they are not threats or ultimatums. Boundaries inform or teach. They are not a form of punishment.

Boundaries are firm lines—determined by you—which cannot be crossed by those around you. They are guidelines for how you will allow others to treat you and what kind of behaviors you will expect.

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Healthy personal boundaries help protect you from physical or emotional pain. You may also need to set firm boundaries at work to ensure you and your time are not disrespected. Don’t allow others to take advantage of your kindness and generosity.

Clear boundaries communicate to others that you demand respect and consideration—that you are willing to stand up for yourself and that you will not be a doormat for anyone. They are a “no trespassing” sign that makes it very clear when a line has been crossed and that there will be consequences for doing so.

Boundaries are not set with the intention of changing other people. They may change how people interact with you, but they are more about enforcing your needs than attempting to change the general behavior and attitude of others.

How to Establish Boundaries and Take Control of Your Life

Here are some ways that you can establish boundaries and take control of your life.

1. Self-Awareness Comes First

Before you can establish boundaries with others, you first need to understand what your needs are.

You are entitled to respect. You have the right to protect yourself from inappropriate or offensive behavior. Setting boundaries is a way of honoring your needs.

To set appropriate boundaries, you need to be clear about what healthy behaviors look like—what healthy relationships look like.

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You first have to become more aware of your feelings and honest with yourself about your expectations and what you feel is appropriate behavior:

  • Where do you need to establish better boundaries?
  • When do you feel disrespected?
  • When do you feel violated, frustrated, or angered by the behavior of others?
  • In what situations do you feel you are being mistreated or taken advantage of?
  • When do you want to be alone?
  • How much space do you need?

You need to honor your own needs and boundaries before you can expect others to honor them. This allows you to take control of your life.

2. Clear Communication Is Essential

Inform others clearly and directly what your expectations are. It is essential to have clear communication if you want others to respect your boundaries. Explain in an honest and respectful tone what you find offensive or unacceptable.

Many people simply aren’t aware that they are behaving inappropriately. They may never have been taught proper manners or consideration for others.

3. Be Specific but Don’t Blame

Taking a blaming or punishing attitude automatically puts people on the defensive. People will not listen when they feel attacked. It’s part of human nature.

That said, you do not need to overexplain or defend yourself. Boundaries are not open to compromise.

Sample language:

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  • “You may not…yell or raise your voice to me…”
  • “I need…to be treated with respect…”
  • “It’s not okay when…you take things from my desk without asking…”
  • “I won’t…do your work…cover for you anymore…”
  • “It’s not acceptable when…you ridicule or insult me…”
  • “I am uncomfortable when…you use offensive language”
  • “I will no longer be able to…lend you money…”

Being able to communicate these without sounding accusatory is essential if you want others to respect your boundaries so you can take control of your life.

4. Consequences Are Often Necessary

Determine what the appropriate consequences will be when boundaries are crossed. If it’s appropriate, be clear about those consequences upfront when communicating those boundaries to others.

Follow through. People won’t respect your boundaries if you don’t enforce them.

Standing our ground and forcing consequences doesn’t come easily to us. We want to be nice. We want people to like us, but we shouldn’t have to trade our self-respect to gain friends or to achieve success.

We may be tempted to let minor disrespect slide to avoid conflict, but as the familiar saying goes, “if you give people an inch, they’ll take a mile.”

It’s much easier to address offensive or inappropriate behavior now than to wait until that behavior has gotten completely out of hand.

It’s also important to remember that positive reinforcement is even more powerful than negative consequences. When people do alter the way they treat you, acknowledge it. Let people know that you notice and appreciate their efforts.

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Final Thoughts

Respect is always a valid reason for setting a boundary. Don’t defend yourself or your needs. Boundaries are often necessary to protect your time, your space, and your feelings. And these are essential if you want to take control of your life.

Start with the easiest boundaries first. Setting boundaries is a skill that needs to be practiced. Enlist support from others if necessary. Inform people immediately when they have crossed the line.

Don’t wait. Communicate politely and directly. Be clear about the consequences and follow them through.

The better you become at setting your own boundaries, the better you become at recognizing and respecting the boundaries of others.

Remember that establishing boundaries is your right. You are entitled to respect. You can’t control how other people behave, but you do have control over the way you allow people to treat you.

Learning to set boundaries is not always easy, but with time, it will become more comfortable. You may eventually find that boundaries become automatic and you no longer need to consciously set them.

They will simply become a natural extension of your self-respect.

Featured photo credit: Thomas Kelley via unsplash.com

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