4 Facts About Men and Sleep
By Julia Steele Rodriguez 11.18.2015
1. Men Get Less Sleep Than Women
Men get less and lower-quality sleep than women according to objective data. They experience lighter sleep, characterized by less time spent in deeper sleep stages, lower sleep efficiency, and more arousals. Also, they consistently report getting less sleep than women.
Why it matters: Sleep is vital to keep you working optimally--mentally and physically--during your waking hours. Resist the temptation to cut back on sleep! Stick to a regular sleep schedule and give your body as much rest as it needs.
2. But Men Report Fewer Sleep Disturbances
Even though men get fewer sleeping hours and spend less time in higher-stage sleep, they report sleeping better than women! Subjective surveys show that men perceive having a higher sleep quality than women. Also, they are about half as likely to report insomnia.
Why it matters: The good news is that once your head hits the pillow, you're more likely to experience sound sleep. However, it's important to pay attention to potential disruptions in your sleep; keep reading.
3. Men Are at Increased Risk of Sleep Apnea
Men are twice as likely as women to have this serious sleep disorder. Men tend to have thicker necks and accumulate more fat around the throat, which increases the risk of the airway being blocked off during sleep. In fact, being a middle-aged male is one of the main risk factors of sleep apnea.
Why it matters: You could be at risk of a serious and underdiagnosed sleep disorder. We recommend reading up on sleep apnea and looking over this list of common symptoms. If you are experiencing these factors, you should have a sleep study to check for the sleep disorder.
4. Poor Sleep in Men Leads to Sexual Dysfunction
People with erectile dysfunction are more than twice than likely as their normal counterparts to have sleep apnea. Learn more about sleep apnea and erectile dysfunction.
Testosterone is produced at night, so poor sleep can lead to decreased testosterone levels. A study conducted at the University of Chicago showed that even in young men, if their sleep period was cut down to only five hours, their testosterone levels decreased by 10 to 15%. Testosterone levels decline with age and decrease with poor sleep across age groups.
Why it matters: If you want to use your bedroom for more than sleeping, it's important to get enough sleep!
The Big Picture
Some things hold true for all human beings, man or woman. You can significantly improve the quality of your sleep by just following good sleeping practice, like maintaining a regular sleep schedule, creating a restful sleeping environment, not using electronics before bed, and getting your recommended hours. If this doesn't work, it may be time to talk to your doctor seriously about the possibility of having a sleep disorder.