Perceptions: Men sleep on Mars, women on Venus

Elderly women may complain about insomnia, but they really get more sleep than men their age. That is the surprising finding of a Dutch study that used monitors and sleep diaries to assess the sleep patterns of almost 1,000 men and women ages 59 to 97 for 6 days, and found that the women slept a quarter of an hour longer, on average, than the men.

Elderly women may complain about insomnia, but they really get more sleep than men their age.

That is the surprising finding of a Dutch study that used monitors and sleep diaries to assess the sleep patterns of almost 1,000 men and women ages 59 to 97 for 6 days, and found that the women slept a quarter of an hour longer, on average, than the men.

Yet when men and women were asked about the quality of their sleep, women were more likely to report it as poor.

“What we found is that men completely overreport their sleep — they have a strong tendency to make it sound better than it was,” said Dr. Henning Tiemeier, associate professor of psychiatric epidemiology at the Erasmus Medical Center in Rotterdam and principal investigator for the study, published in the Oct. 1 issue of the journal Sleep.

In fact, men did not sleep as well as women, the study found.

They reported sleeping seven hours a night, but objective measures, including a monitor on the wrist that measured sleep time, indicated they slept less than six and a half hours.

Their sleep was also more fragmented, possibly because they drank more alcohol than the women.

Though women reported more problems with their sleep, their reports were more accurate, Dr. Tiemeier said.
Are men just oblivious?

“One could say men have this gift of being more optimistic, that it’s a natural tendency,” Dr. Tiemeier said.

New York Times

 

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