The Max Planck Institute in Munich have been analysing sleeping patterns of 160 adults, to view how sleep can affect cognitive behaviour. This study was presented at the Forum of Neurocience in Copenhagen.
Researchers kept a track of the groups sleep patterns, also conducting intelligence tests on them, to see how their reasoning and problem solving skills would fare. They took a look at sleeping piddles (bursts of brain activity that can be measured across different forms of sleep, and across different genders). Basically in Layman's terms, the activity your brain undertakes during sleep.
The discovery was that the spindles which are more associated with a higher IQ, became more active when women entered a dreamless sleep. For men however, this brain behaviour was not found during a dreamless sleep. It was however found during shorter naps. I don't know about you, but as a man I can't find time to nap!
Professor Martin Dresler said "Our results demonstrate that the association between sleep spindles and intelligence is more complex than we have assumed until now.
There are many factors involved in intellectual abilities, and sleep is just one of them. This huge study of men and women gives us a more accurate framework for the next phase of research which will involve differences in individuals sleep patterns."
Earlier this year, researchers at Loughborough University Sleep Research Centre found women may need more sleep as their brains are more complex than men's. Professor Jim Horne, who has looked thoroughly into the issue said: "Women tend to multi-task - they do lots at once and are flexible - and so they us more of their actual brain than men do. Because of that, their need for sleep is greater."
So, lads, that extremely unattractive face your missus pulls while snoring, and no doubt yanking the covers off you has been justified. The reason they looked so zonked out, is because they're charging that brain. Some would argue that men too pull that unattractive gawp whilst snoring away, but it appears that they're jut really, really enjoying their dream.
On the flip side, a Swedish study has shown that lack of sleep actually hits women harder than men, especially when it comes to storing pieces of information in the brain for a pro longed period of time. The brain of a man, however, showed there were no changes to his working memory.
A team from Uppsala Univerity called upon 24 adults, 12 men, 12 women, to stay a night at their laboratory. Some participants were left to have an untroubled sleep, whilst others were forced to stay awake.
The next morning, they were challenged to remember sequences of eight numbers, and also asked to rate how well they'd performed on the tests.
The results showed that a man's memory was relatively unaffected by lack of sleep, whereas a woman's was disturbed.
The findings suggest that there is a higher likelihood of an accident from women following shift work. So there's finally an excuse for men drivers to throw.
"Our study suggests that particular attention should be paid to young women facing challenges in which they have to cope with both a high working memory load and a lack of sleep," said the study's main author Frida Rångtell.