How Much Sleep Do You Really Need?

sleep Men and women, listen up. You know that you are both different from each other in many areas of life and health, but one area you probably didn’t know is different is the amount of sleep you need. When sleep is discussed, we often clump both men and women together and suggest that we need about seven to eight hours of sleep. But due to biological differences, it’s not fair to offer the same recommendation for both genders as they have different needs.

Case-in-point, women need more sleep than men. Why? Because women have fluctuating hormones as a result of their menstrual cycles and higher levels of progesterone, which can result in women requiring more sleep. During this time, women should be sleeping 30 minutes to an hour more than usual.


The closer women get to their menstrual cycles, the more likely feelings of irritability, grumpiness, and emotional will pop up. These are all signs of sleep deprivation, and increasing your sleep can reduce such symptoms.

Dr. Carmel Harrington, author of The Complete Guide to a Good Night’s Sleep and The Sleep Diet, explained, “One of the things that we often don’t address is that fertile women require more sleep in the second half of their cycle. And we often try in a relationship to match our sleep to our partner but we shouldn’t.”

“They may choose to go to bed earlier or get up later, or a combination of the two—regardless of how it is managed it is important that women get the sleep they need rather than the amount of sleep their partner requires. However, ideally, if we are regularly getting the sleep we require we should not need to rely too much upon alarms,” Dr. Harrington continued.

Women may also need to prepare for sleep more attentively during this time of the month, as they are less sensitive to the calming and sleep-inducing effects of melatonin. “It is important therefore to maximize its production which means minimizing light a good hour before planned sleep time and definitely switching off all technology. A warm to hot shower will also help you fall asleep and stay asleep,” Dr. Harrington explained.

Generally, it is recommended that you strive for seven to nine hours of sleep, so if you are waking up not feeling refreshed, you may need to make adjustments to your sleep routine. Furthermore, be mindful that at certain times of the month, you may require more or less sleep and that’s totally normal. So, if your husband isn’t following you to bed, don’t be upset—you simply need more sleep than him and that’s okay.

Related: Essential oils for sleep: 13 ways to get the best sleep ever


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