How the gender sleep gap is affecting women every day

New studies have revealed a gender sleep gap, which is affecting women's day to day life. Stephanie Romiszewski, Bensons for Beds Sleep Expert, shares tips on how to sleep better.

A nationwide study has found that the average British woman sleeps three hours less than her partner every night, which equates to a shocking 1,095 hours every year, thus creating the gender sleep gap.

The poll of 2,000 couples also revealed as many as half of British women say they feel constantly sleep-deprived, while a third claim to have a broken night’s sleep every night, compared to just two in 10 men.

The impact for women is severe, with almost a quarter (73%) claiming to be at their wit’s end due to lack of sleep, compared to 64% of men.

The study also found that a fifth (19%) of British women claim they always reach Friday feeling exhausted but never have time for a weekend lie-in to catch up on lost sleep – with 14% admitting this leaves them feeling utterly miserable.

Worryingly this impacts self-esteem, with 21% of the nation’s women claiming they feel ugly when they haven’t slept properly.

One in three (34%) feel depressed and 21% say their diet goes out of the window when they are tired.

The gender sleep gap causes friction in the nation’s households, according to the research, with 15% of UK females confessing they feel annoyed that their partner gets more sleep than them, and one in five admit they are routinely rude to their partner due to exhaustion.

The study also found that 15% of British women admit they needlessly shout at their kids when they are tired, leaving them feeling guilty and remorseful.

When it comes to what keeps women awake at night, the study found that almost a quarter (22%) say it’s their partner’s snoring, and 14% claim it’s because it is always them who has to tend to children who wake at night, while the men stay asleep.

A third of women believe their partners are just inherently better at sleeping than them, while 18% say that their partner is much less stressed, which leads to overall better sleep furthering the gender sleep gap.

Helen Nunn, Head of Marketing at Bensons for Beds says: “Sleep – or lack of sleep – can affect so many aspects of our day to day lives. It’s worrying to see that this research has found that our nation’s women are getting less sleep and feeling more tired than their male counterparts.

“We’re passionate about helping the nation achieve the best sleep possible, which is why we conducted this in-depth study to help people live their best lives through sleep education. This is part of our promise to deliver Sleep Wellness™ to our customers.”

The study also found that, when they do manage to get a good night’s sleep, a fifth of British women believe they look younger, 21% say they feel much more confident, and 30% feel more in control.

Bensons for Beds Sleep Expert, Stephanie Romiszewski says: “It makes sense that men and women have different sleep needs – we are in some ways very different. What with hormonal changes that come with menstruation, pregnancy, and menopause, the biological differences alone are huge. With this in mind, it’s really helpful for us to get into a few good sleep habits that can help get us through.”

Romiszewski shares her top tips to help you achieve better quality sleep:

  1. Keep a regular wake time. For every human body, any kind of consistent behaviours will affect how efficient your body works. Getting up at the same time every day helps regulate our bodies when we eat, sleep, and feel at our best (and to feel refreshed when we wake up!). If you want your body to be more predictable for you, you need to be more predictable to it. Now imagine the other patterns that women have – menstrual cycles and hormonal changes to name a few – the more you are in sync with your body in the things you can control, the more bearable and more predictable these changes can be. 
  2. Period pains can affect how we sleep, but a good healthy sleep routine can stop you from being up for hours once you’re awake and can lessen the effect of the pain. Go to bed when you are sleepy, avoid forcing sleep (it won’t work anyway!). Sometimes trying the exact opposite can be very useful – try and keep your eyes open and tell yourself you will stay awake. Sometimes it’s the pressure we put ourselves under that is causing the lack of sleep.
  3. Make your sleep wind downtime your you time. Don’t see it as things you must do to sleep – it doesn’t work like that anyway. The more you enjoy yourself and feel happy and content before bed, the better sleep quality. So, do the things you love and enjoy, spend time around the people that make you feel good. Good quality wake time leads to good quality sleep time.

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