Tuesday, April 26, 2011

While Dad sleeps

On Friday night hubby, Johnny, and I each startled awake from a deep sleep to a house-quaking clap of thunder.  Johnny promptly crawled into bed between us and we three lay shoulder to shoulder, listening in silent awe.

And that was the first time that the same noise woke me and Deano from our nightly slumbers.  Which reminded me of something I read back in February on Motherlode, the New York Times parenting blog.  It made me feel a little bad about the nasty and resentful glares that I shot at hubby's sleeping back while I tended to our infants in the night, often inches away from his peacefully sleeping head.

Before I go on, I must say two things in defense of hubby and to explain my regret for resenting him so severely.   First of all, when baby one was newborn, hubby got up with me in the night.  I'd nudge him awake when the baby cried and he would actually get out of bed, change the diaper, and then deliver our baby to my nearly bursting breast.  Very sweet.  Secondly, I have to disclose that by the time baby 2 and 3 came along, hubby was done with medical school and well into a grueling residency.  He was more sleep deprived than a nursing mother of an infant if you can imagine that.  Thus I understood when crib-to-breast delivery service was canceled indefinitely.  But I still got pissed in the night that the baby's cries didn't disturb hubby's sleep - not even a little. 

But now that I know why our crying babies never disturbed his slumber, I feel a little bad about the holes I bore in the back of his head with my dagger eyes.

The study I read about was commissioned by the manufacturers of Lemsip, a cold remedy sold in the UK.  It was conducted by a company called Mindlab International which analyzes electrical activity in the brain to show what people are thinking and feeling while carrying out everyday activities like shopping, playing sports, or (as in the case of this study) sleeping.

The study demonstrated a few things that I found enlightening:
  1. The sound most likely to wake a woman from sleep was a crying baby and this was true for mothers and women who did not have children.
  2. The sound of a baby crying was not even on the top ten list of sounds that disturbed a man's sleep.  Interesting.....
  3. All of the following things were more likely to disturb a sleeping man than a baby's cry (listed from most to least likely to wake a dude):  a car alarm, the howling wind, a buzzing fly, snoring, noise from drains, crickets chirping, sirens, a ticking clock, drilling/workmen, and a dripping tap.  
  4. Women were disturbed by many of the same sounds (but not the chirping crickets or the ticking clock).  Babies and "rowdiness outside" made the female top ten but not the male.
I think this is so interesting.  Chirping crickets??!!  That is nearly musical compared to a wailing baby.  Isn't this shocking information?  Doesn't it explain a lot? 

PS - Thunder was absent from both lists.

PPS - I am not a statistician and could not find the study itself.  The sample size could have been 10 and the science could be a bunch of hooey, but still.....it gets a girl thinking.  If you haven't had your fill, you can read more about this study in a 2009 article from the Telegraph.

1 comment:

  1. Chirping crickets, huh ... then yes, it explains volumes 1-10.