Friday, 10 September 2010
Sleep is the new feminist issue
I have read about the links between lack of sleep and increased blood pressure.
I have absorbed information about the stress reducing powers of sleep.
I know about memory consolidation and sleep and why sleep helps your memory.
I have read that you can do basic tasks when you are sleep deprived but have difficulty doing complex tasks or learning new ones.
I know that getting enough sleep is essential for weight loss and wards off the black dog.
And I know that sleep time is when your body mends and recovers from the craziness of the day.
But I have to say I was a little shocked to read in the newspaper at the weekend that sleep has made it onto the list of feminist issues! I really hadn't made that connection before (I am definitely getting 'soft' in my old age).
According to the likes of Naomi Wolf and Arianna Huffington, women are more sleep deprived than men (up to 90 minutes per day more). They argue, quite convincingly, that exhaustion is having an effect on women's judgement, creativity and relationships. It is another hurdle in the workplace.
Women's bodies need more sleep than men's, and yet now that we own the big jobs, take on the corporate ladder smashing the glass ceiling on the way up, add a dash of perfectionism to our lives and a brood of kids, we are forfeiting our sleep just to keep it all in check. To balance the life of hyperperformance.
The feminist message is that if we could just sleep more we could do more!
My message is, maybe we all just need to do less.
When people say to me "I don't know how you do it, with four kids, a family business and a part-time job", I say to them, "Lower your expectations". It always gets a laugh, but I am being quite serious. I know that I can't do it all, so I don't try. My mantra is "keep it simple". It works for me.
I just have to work out how to sleep again and I reckon I will be unstoppable. Unstoppably simple.