I’m sharing this because there is an important scientific study I think its imperative you hear about.
No, its not another one about the health benefits of chocolate.
And no, its nothing to do with how men doing chores makes women more amorous.
(Though I am happy to send those two again if you’ve misplaced them.)
It’s about sleep.
Remember that take-it-for-granted thing we indulged in before we had children?
Those times of placing our heads on the pillow (and not having to first throw a menagerie of stuffed animals off the bed) of sliding between fresh sheets wearing as much or as little as we wished and staying there for a solid eight hours.
Eight hours not interrupted by the mournful cries of a hungry four-month-old. Eight hours not interrupted by a fearful three-year-old worried that the purple Wiggle wanted to lock her up in the big red car. Eight hours that didn't abruptly finish at 5am with a two-year-old's fist in your mouth asking for "breastick please Mama I hungwee."
Eight long hours of sleep. Do you remember that?
(Oh that’s right you do, you had it just last night didn’t you?)
Well, there is a study backing up what I have been hinting at for years. A proper scientific study with proper scientific background proving once and for all that I might just need it too... new research showing that women need more sleep than men.
Oh I know you try to let me sleep.
You say you’ll get up to the baby – but her cries wake me anyway.
You do give me a “turn” each second weekend at having a Sunday lay –in, but after the fourth time a child wanders in to ask me where their shoes/iPad/soccer ball/ Pokémon cards/piece of toast is it just seems there is not much point in aimlessly lying there when I could be up getting ready for the week ahead.
I know you try.
I know you try to listen at night as I go over the machinations of the day and week ahead tossing and turning trying to nut out just how we can juggle the drop off, pick up, multi-scheduled lives of our children and us.
I know you try to stay awake as I dissect just what the baby nurse meant when she stated that she knew I was “doing my best.”
And I know you don’t realise that your snores sound like the 7.58 from Katoomba to Central.
I know you try.
But you might need to try harder because it turns out that I need it. My brain is more complex you see than yours.
Professor Jim Horne, the director of the Sleep Research Center at Loughborough University and author of Sleepfaring: A Journey Through The Science of Sleep told the website Higher Perspectives that women need 20 minutes more sleep than the average man.
He says that it is due to a “woman's busy, multi-tasking brain."
He said "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. “
“Women tend to multi-task” Professor Horne said.
“They do lots at once and are flexible — and so they use more of their actual brain than men do. Because of that, their sleep need is greater. A man who has a complex job that involves a lot of decision-making and lateral thinking may also need more sleep than the average male — though probably still not as much as a woman."
A second study also had alarming findings. Researchers discovered that poor sleep might be more harmful to women than to men.
Edward Suarez, an associate professor in the department of psychiatry and behavioural sciences at Duke University said that for women “poor sleep is strongly associated with high levels of psychological distress and greater feelings of hostility, depression, and anger.”
Sounds bad huh?
There is a solution though.
Well, there are a couple. We could get separate rooms (though we might need to renovate) mine with a large king sized bed with Egyptian cotton sheets and air conditioning. We could ensure it was situated far away from the children so that they bothered you first and allowed me to sleep enough to fob off all that anger.
Or (and tell me my dear husband if I am overstepping the mark) you could just get up more?
What do you think?
Your loving, devoted, tired wife.