Why you really ARE more tired than your other half
Why you really ARE more tired than your other half – and what you can do about it
ISLAMABAD: At the end of a busy week, do you ever find yourself arguing with your husband about who’s more exhausted?
Though it won’t make you feel better in the long-term, take comfort in the fact that you probably are more tired than him.
That’s because, according to research by the National Sleep Foundation, women are worse sleepers than men. Its recent survey found 63 per cent of women experience insomnia a few times a week, compared with 54 per cent of men.
Women are biologically programmed to be lighter sleepers, so a woman can hear her baby cry in the night
This difference – termed the gender sleep gap – may be partly because women are biologically programmed to be lighter sleepers. Waking up easily is a form of being on red alert so that a mother can spring into action should her baby cry during the night.
What makes it even worse is that we tend to need more sleep than men, at least an extra 20 minutes, according to Professor Jim Horner, of Loughborough University’s Sleep Research Centre.
‘Women tend to multi-task and so they use more of their brain than men. Because of that, their need for sleep is greater,’ he says.
So, what can we do to get some much-needed rest? Here, we reveal the main causes of the gender sleep gap – and how to overcome them.
Men may be looking after their figures a little better these days, but women still make up the majority of dieters.
So women are more likely to be fighting late-night hunger pangs that can prevent them from getting to sleep – and they may lie awake for longer rather than raid the fridge.
Independent dietician Dr Sarah Schenker advises including carbohydrates with a low glycaemic index (GI) – foods that release energy more slowly – as part of the evening meal.
‘It has been suggested that calories with a low GI will help keep blood sugar levels stable,’ she says.
Low GI carbohydrates include wholegrain basmati rice, kidney beans, chickpeas and potatoes.
Pregnant and menopausal women are more vulnerable to heartburn than men. The condition – in which stomach acid splashes back up into the oesophagus – is a particular problem at night.
During the day, acid may briefly enter the oesophagus, but is quickly pulled back to the stomach by gravity. But at night, when you are lying flat, acid tends to rest in the oesophagus for longer, causing more pain and damage.
The average adult sleeps for six hours and 36 minutes a night – one hour and 24 minutes less than recommended
Dr Steven Mann, consultant gastroenterologist at Barnet Hospital in London, suggests avoiding alcohol, chocolate, coffee, fizzy drinks, citrus fruit and spicy or fatty foods. ‘Eating smaller meals and having your evening meal three to four hours before bedtime may help too,’ he says.
Another way to reduce the chance of heartburn is to raise your bed a little by stacking a couple of books under the head end. If this doesn’t work, over-the-counter antacids can be taken to neutralise stomach acids.