Archive for Sunday, June 15, 2003

Women deal with sleep loss better than men do, study shows

June 15, 2003

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— Stumped for a Father's Day gift?

Let Dad sleep. He probably will benefit, even more than Mom.

New research suggests that women deal with sleep loss better than men do.

They sleep more soundly and are less likely to be disturbed, according to the study to be presented in Philadelphia at next week's annual meeting of the Endocrine Society.

"There is a definite difference in sleeping patterns among men and women," Alexandros Vgontzas, the study's lead investigator and a psychiatrist at the Pennsylvania State University College of Medicine, said in a statement. "In our study, when women lost sleep, they were able to consolidate the sleep they did get."

He suggested the differences may have something to do with the historic child-care responsibilities that have hampered women's abilities to sleep through the night. Their bodies have adapted, he said, which may have helped protect them more from the effects of sleep loss.

He said the findings may help explain why women, in general, live longer than men.

Sleep problems hound Americans. About 60 percent of adults report experiencing sleep problems at least a few nights a week, according to surveys conducted by the National Sleep Foundation. About 40 percent of adults cope with daytime sleepiness that hampers their activities at least several days a month.

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