Do Men and Women Rest Differently?

The question before us: Do men and women rest differently?

Yes we do—just like men and women do just about everything differently. My husband, Tim, played an integral part in teaching me about rest. It was not an easy task, especially in our early years when I equated rest with laziness. God bestowed upon Tim a great deal of determination and very thick skin. For this, I will forever and always be grateful. Tim was my first (and possibly the best) role model of a balanced life on the work/rest continuum. He introduced me to the whole idea of rest as it’s meant to be – guilt-free. He is the unsung hero and a founding father of Run Hard. Rest Well.

What have I learned about this topic?

There is a growing body of information to explore about gender related topics and research into rest. Below you will find two insightful articles. This post will likely create more questions than answers, but it will open the door to an on-going discussion that will likely be rich and productive. I would love to hear your stories, insights and research findings.

There’s a great article in the Wall Street Journal for moms and dads, ”Why Mom’s Time is Different than Dad’s Time” Sadly, you now have to subscribe to read it, but there is a worthwhile 3 minute video. It focuses on the non-negotiable time demands of life with children called “Pressure Points.” In it, moms and dads will find nuggets that contain insights to more stress-free family living. I think it’s a good “watch” or “read” even for those without children, as it sheds light on some gender-based characteristics about work and rest. 

The second article, ”Do Women Need More Sleep Than Men?” comes from the magazine Shape (2/24/14) and relates to the impact of sleeplessness on men and women. The research is interesting and surprising. The writer, Charlotte Hilton Andersen, brings up several important points:

  • Reduced sleep takes more of a toll on women than men. It sets women up for more feelings of stress, depression, anxiety and anger. (Take home: make sure the women you love are getting 7+ hours of sleep)
  • Poor sleep increases men’s level of testosterone. While there are negative effects, the extra testosterone decreases inflammation, helping keep the impact of stress hormones at bay. (Women’s hormones set them up for more inflammation. Go figure.)
  • C-reactive protein (CRP) in the blood is an important marker for stress. Taking 30+ minutes to fall asleep is a key factor for an increase of CRP.
  • Daniel Kahneman (in a separate study) found that there is a profound difference in the level of happiness for those who get 7+ hours of sleep versus 6. That 60 minutes could be the best investment you’ve ever made.

What’s your 2 cents? Any light bulbs? How is “rest” for men and women similar? Different? What can we learn from each other?


We are a group of passionate people who gather the 4-word mission statement, “Run hard. Rest well.”

    • It’s a journey into the heart of God. It comes our way through an on-going exploration of four biblical rhythms that revive, replenish and restore: Sabbath Keeping, Sleep (and other simple stress-reducers), Stillness—personal retreat, and Solitude—personal retreat.
    • It’s an expedition that challenges us at every turn. It convicts us in deep, tender places. It alters our priorities and plans. It’s not for the faint of heart.
    • It’s adventure at its best – as we learn to run our race in a power not our own.


First time here?

5 thoughts on “Do Men and Women Rest Differently?”

  1. Hi Brenda!

    This was especially good! Would I be able to have you send me the special reading for an hour with God? My computer had a hiccup and it disappeared before I could print it!

    May our dear Lord continue to bless your ministry.

    Love you

  2. There are a couple of things I have learned personally. Going to bed and getting to sleep are two very different animals. Once I lie down and shut off the lights, my mind goes into hyperdrive. To combat this I have a couple of tried and true techniques I use (they don’t always work….depends on where I am emotionally). I can work on memorizing a verse of scripture. My focus come off my day, gets on the Lord, and the repetitiveness of the action will allow me to go to sleep more quickly. The other technique I use is going through the alphabet thinking of words with each letter. If I’m working on fruit, I may say Apples, Bananas, Cantaloupe….. you can do animals, vegetables, or whatever is of interest to you. The thing that can be tricky is when I get stumped on a letter. Usually I fall asleep trying to think of a word. I think men can be more compartmentalized and less apt to replay their day. I do this most nights. Some night the stress is so intense, I play out scenarios on how I could, should, will handle that thing. This is a road to no where good. Trust me. Been there. Done that.


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