September 12, 2016
Science Daily/McGill University
You may have noticed that women are more prone to sleep disturbances than men. They are, for instance, up to twice as likely to suffer from insomnia than men. Could there be a link between the body clock that regulates sleep and being a female or a male? Yes, according to a new study.
By controlling for the menstrual cycle and hormonal contraceptive use, Dr. Boivin shows, in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS), that the body clock affects sleep and alertness differently in men and women.
"For a similar sleep schedule, we find that women's body clock causes them to fall asleep and wake up earlier than men. The reason is simple: their body clock is shifted to a more easterly time zone," says the Director of the Centre for Study and Treatment of Circadian Rhythms at the Douglas Institute, one of the research centres of the CIUSSS de l'Ouest-de-l'Île-de-Montréal.
And, she adds, "This observed difference between the sexes is essential for understanding why women are more prone to disturbed sleep than men."