Women sleep more than men?

Looking to get more sleep? Single, childless, female, and low-income Canadians are apparently better rested than their counterparts, according to a new Statistics Canada study.

Maybe it’s no shock that childless Canadians are sleeping well, with less midnight wakeup calls. But the finding that women sleep longer than men does surprise me (females supposedly get eight hours and 18 minutes a night, seven minutes longer than men). Between the workplace and the home, women tend to work more hours in a week—so you’d think they’d be the ones getting less rest. And last month, a study from Duke University showed that poor sleep takes a greater toll on women than men. (Another study, here, shows that menopausal women report lack of sleep to be their biggest problem.)

The study goes on to show that women are lighter sleepers than men, and take longer to actually fall asleep (in the case of new moms, that certainly makes sense).

But having kids seems to close the sleep “gender gap”: men and women with kids get roughly the same amount of sleep.

The study’s other findings:

– Married and common-law couples report sleeping 24 minutes less than single Canadians

– People with two kids slept an average of 25 fewer minutes a night than childless Canadians

– Those who made $60,000 or more a year slept 40 minutes less per day than those who made $20,000

– Full time workers got 24 minutes less sleep than those who were not regularly employed

– Canadians who were married (or in common-law relationships) slept about eight hours and five minutes per night, 24 minutes less than single people who had never been married

(It’s important to note that these results were self-reported: the study was based on a 2005 survey of 19,500 people)

In related news, here’s a neurologist who says investing in a new pillow could improve your sleep (he’s also got some tips on how to buy a good one).

Looking for more?

Get the Best of Maclean's sent straight to your inbox. Sign up for news, commentary and analysis.