It’s tough being a woman in this world. Women are twice as likely to experience major depression than men and more likely to suffer from heart disease. This could be because they’re often overworked and underpaid, or because on top of it all, they have to deal with ridiculous standards of beauty. Unfortunately, that’s not even the half of it. All this goes to say that women have more than enough reasons to hit the snooze button and sleep in every morning — and science agrees.

Women Need More Sleep

After collecting data from more than 200 middle-aged men and women, researchers from the Loughborough University’s Sleep Research Center in Leicestershire, England say women need 20 more minutes of shut-eye than men to function properly because their brains are both more complex and used more, Woman’s Day reported.

According to the National Sleep Foundation, people aged 18 and older should get at least seven to nine hours of sleep.

"Women's brains are wired differently from men's and are more complex, so their sleep needs will be slightly greater," said Jim Horne, director of Loughborough University's Sleep Research Center, according to The Tab. “The average is 20 minutes more, but some women may need slightly more or less than this.”

The idea that men and women’s brains differ significantly is not new. A 2013 study from the University of Pennsylvania suggested the same thing and confirmed that women outdo men when it comes to multitasking. In fact, the current study cites women’s ability to handle more than one task at the same time as one of the reasons they require more sleep than men.

"Women tend to multitask — they do lots at once and are flexible — and so they use more of their actual brain than men do,” Horne previously told The Australian in 2013. "Because of that, their sleep need is greater."

In addition to spending more mental energy than men, researchers also found women need more sleep because they experience more consequences from lack of sleep than do men.

"For women, poor sleep is strongly associated with high levels of psychological distress and greater feelings of hostility, depression, and anger," Horne said. "In contrast, these feelings were not associated with the same degree of sleep disruption in men."

Health Effects of Sleep Deprivation

Horne and his colleagues’ study builds on previous research that has found women are more affected by lack of sleep, or sleep deprivation, compared to men.

A 2013 study from Duke University found that women — who are already more susceptible to depression than men — had more depression, anger, and hostility in the morning when they didn’t get an adequate amount of rest.

"One of the major functions of sleep is to allow the brain to recover and repair itself. During deep sleep, the cortex — the part of the brain responsible for thought, memory, language, and so on — disengages from the senses and goes into recovery mode,” Horne told The Australian. "The more of your brain you use during the day, the more of it that needs to recover and, consequently, the more sleep you need.”

Poor sleep has also been linked to weight gain, increased suicide risk, and chronic, life-threatening illnesses like type 2 diabetes and heart disease.