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Women Need More Sleep Because Their Brains Work Harder, Study Finds

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Women Need More Sleep Because Their Brains Work Harder, Study Finds

Finally! Research has proven that women need more sleep than men because they are smarter. It’s a scientific fact.

Ok… not exactly.

What research has been able to prove is that women have more complex brain activity than men.

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A new study from England’s Loughborough University reveals that women are multi-taskers, meaning they require higher amounts of brain activity and use more regions of the brain than men do, resulting in a greater overall need for sleep.

According to sleep expert and researcher John Horne:

“One of the major functions of sleep is to allow the brain to recover and repair itself. The more of your brain you use during the day, the more of it that needs to recover and, consequently, the more sleep you need.”

The study found that women need about 20 minutes more sleep than men per night. It went on to say that a man that has a mentally demanding job, one requiring lots of lateral thinking tasks and decision making, will need more sleep than the average male, though still not as much as a woman.

Women need more sleep than men because their brains are wired differently

Brain Picture

    So what’s the difference?

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    In a  2014 study, 949 people were tested and the results found that men’s brains had more connections within each brain hemisphere, whereas women’s brains had more connections between the two hemispheres.

    The findings showed that men are able to focus deeply on one task at a time, while the female brain was better at performing multiple functions simultaneously. This explains the “tunnel vision” in some men and superior multi-tasking ability in some women. Multi-tasking exerts more effort from the brain, which is why women need more sleep than men.

    According to Dr. Apostolos Georgopoulos, the director of the Brain Science Centre at the Minneapolis Veterans Affairs (VA) Medical Center:

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    “Women’s brains are definitely different from men’s brains… What we have found is that women, in many different tasks, process information about five times faster than men, and use much less of their brain to do identical cognitive performance.”

    While that may seem like good news, the speed and efficiency of the female brain comes at a cost. Scientists say that it is more vulnerable to damage than the male brain, and if damaged the male brain can recover more quickly and more completely — making the daily recovery and repair process (aka sleep) extremely important.

    Featured photo credit: planetchopstick via flickr.com

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