Study: Multi-Tasking Means Women Need More Sleep Than Men

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Women need 20 minutes more sleep than the average man because of multi-tasking, it emerged Wednesday.

U.K. researchers found that as more parts of a brain are used during the day, more sleep is required to recover, commuter newspaper MX reported.

"One of the major functions of sleep is to allow the brain to recover and repair itself," says Professor Jim Horne, director of the Sleep Research Center at Loughborough University, north of Leicester.

"During deep sleep, the cortex the part of the brain responsible for thought, memory, language and so on disengages from the senses and goes into recovery mode. Women tend to multi-task - they do lots at once and are flexible and so they use more of their actual brain than men do. Because of that, their sleep need is greater."

Horne believes the differing sleep needs may explain why a man's brain ages faster.

"A typical 75-year-old woman has a comparable brain age to a 70-year-old man," he said.

"We are unsure why. The fact that a woman's brain tends to get more time to relax and repair itself may explain it."

How much sleep an individual needs varies greatly.

"The average adult needs between six and eight hours of sleep a night," Horne said.

"But individual needs differ greatly some people can get by easily on six hours while others can't."