Women Suffer Greater Consequences From Lack of Sleep Than Men

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A new survey from Sleep Cycle, the best-selling alarm clock application, reveals that Mars and Venus have different needs in the bedroom when it comes to getting a good night’s sleep—and that women suffer more than men when they don’t.

The national survey of 1,004 U.S. adults was conducted online by Propeller Insights on behalf of Sleep Cycle in January 2018.

Women Hit Harder by Lack of Sleep

The vast majority (93 percent) of Americans admit that getting a good night’s sleep affects their day. A full three-quarters (75 percent) feel better, more than half (52 percent) get more done, 39 percent are more patient—especially women (44 percent)—and 39 percent perform better at work. Women especially (40 percent) also feel that they look better after a good night’s sleep.

A lack of sleep, on the other hand, has some disastrous consequences—particularly for women, who are crankier, puffier and generally feel worse:

How does a lack of sleep affect you?              Women                                Men

I’m crankier                                                   67 percent                           52 percent

I look worse (puffy skin, dark circles)           48 percent                            32 percent

I feel physically ill                                         36 percent                            26 percent

I drink more coffee                                      29 percent                             30 percent

I can’t perform well at work                         29 percent                             27 percent

Women are also more likely to make poor food choices. More women say their food choices are affected by a bad night’s sleep (69 percent) than men (63 percent); they are also more likely than men to confuse fatigue with hunger (42 percent versus 32 percent) and to eat junk food (29 percent versus 22 percent). Men, on the other hand, are more likely to eat less food (17 percent) than women (14 percent) or to eat healthier food (10 percent) than women (8 percent) to boost their energy.

Some Like It Cold

A full three-quarters (75 percent) of Americans—men and women alike—prefer a cool sleeping environment, and almost two-thirds (63 percent) are side-sleepers. Another third (33 percent) of Americans use some kind of app to help them sleep, including apps that play relaxing music (11 percent) and white noise (9 percent).

But men and women have some divergent sleep preferences. For example:

Men prefer firm mattresses (42 percent) to soft mattresses (26 percent)
Women like firm (34 percent) and soft mattresses (32 percent) almost equally
Women (23 percent) are about twice as likely as men (12 percent) to enjoy sleeping with body pillows
Women (10 percent) are more than three times as likely as men (3 percent) to enjoy sleeping with an electric blanket
More women (24 percent) than men (17 percent) are cuddlers

In order to make waking up easier, 1 in 5 (21 percent) of Americans set their alarm earlier than they have to so they can snooze, 12 percent set their alarm to loud music, and 10 percent make their partners wake them up.

Bad Sleep Habits We Can’t Quit

The vast majority of Americans (74 percent) admit to having habits that negatively impact their sleep. Interestingly, men are slightly worse, with many minor bad habits, but women are significantly worse at the one big no-no: screen time before bed.

What habits negatively impact your sleep?                    Women                    Men

Drinking caffeine before bed                                       40 percent                 44 percent

Eating before bed                                                        30 percent                 32 percent

Using my phone/watching TV in bed                          37 percent                 22 percent

Drinking alcohol before bed                                       16 percent                  20 percent

Eating chocolate before bed                                       13 percent                  17 percent

Women are also more likely to let work stress interfere with their sleep: while more men (15 percent) than women (12 percent) stay up late to finish work, more women (21 percent) than men (17 percent) lie awake thinking about tomorrow’s to-do list.

“These results show that Americans struggle—one way or the other—with getting a good night’s sleep and that women especially suffer the consequences of poor sleep,” said Carl Johan Hederoth, CEO of Sleep Cycle. “But the data also shows that too few Americans are taking advantage of apps like Sleep Cycle, which wakes users in the lightest phase of sleep so they wake up feeling refreshed and ready to take on the day.”

Walking After Midnight

American men do more snoring, sleepwalking and sleep eating than American women, while American women do more tossing and turning and sleep talking:

More than half of American men (55 percent) and women (51 percent) snore
46 percent of women and 42 percent of men toss and turn
More than a quarter of women (28 percent) and men (25 percent) sleep talk
60 percent more women (16 percent) than men (10 percent) have night terrors
1 in 10 men (11 percent) sleepwalk, as do 8 percent of women
Men (7 percent) are almost twice as likely as women (4 percent) to sleep eat

More than two-thirds (70 percent) of Americans have fallen asleep in public places. Some are not so surprising—at the movies (29 percent), at school (25 percent), at the beach (20 percent), and on the bus (20 percent). But men, in particular, have fallen asleep in some more interesting places: at work (21 percent), at sporting events (6 percent), at public swimming pools (4 percent), and at bars (4 percent)—3 percent even claim to have fallen asleep at a rock concert.

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