If you find yourself padding around your living quarters well into the early morning hours, measuring the length of your shadow while listening to week-old podcasts, odds are you're a woman, probably a pregnant woman with restless leg syndrome.
According to a briefing hosted by the Society for Women's Health Research, women are 1.4 times more likely to report insomnia than men, and, in general, are more likely to suffer from insomnia than men because they're a hundred million times more likely to get pregnant than men (although, life, as Dr. Ian Malcolm would tells us, finds a way). Though anyone of any age can suffer from sleep problems, hormonal changes during pregnancy, explained Dr. Helene A. Emsellem during the the briefing, can lead to changes in sleepiness, as well as an increase in restless leg syndrome.
The more cavalier among you may be saying, "So what if I can't sleep? I'm totally going to catch up with popular culture and spend all night watching Twin Peaks, which is on Netflix instant watch right now." That's all well and good, except that somewhere before the series finale, you'll probably put on a ton of weight, develop hypertension, breathing problems, and finally die face down in your bowl of kettle corn because insomnia screws with your body's equilibrium and can lead to all sorts of health problems. About 40 million Americans suffer from sleep disorders, with insomnia being the most common, and according to a 2002 National Sleep Foundation poll, 63 percent of women reported suffering from insomnia as opposed to 54 percent of men.
The NSF recommends that people suffering from insomnia get themselves back on a regular sleep schedule, exercise, and avoid coffee and booze. It might be noted, though, that according to some members of the scholarly community, insomnia isn't so much the mark of a morbidly obese channel surfer, but a genius whose mind is too busy thinking about the mysteries of the universe to shut off for even a few hours each night. If women do in fact suffer insomnia more than men, it only means that they're generally smarter than men, because nobody taught me the difference between correlation and causation. Enjoy your sleep, stupid people of the world — while you're drooling all over your pillows, some pregnant woman is probably writing the next Republic.
The Philosophy of Insomnia [Chronicle of Higher Ed]
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