Without that first cup of coffee in the morning?
No immediate access to journal or laptop?
You got it again. Antsy and grumpy.
On the other hand, I doubt I’m as disagreeable at six or seven a.m. as I perceive myself to be. That, despite a news item asserting the fairer sex to be grumpier than our male counterparts.
Is this possibly true? Do women wake up more crotchety than men?
If so, why is that?
All Hail our Fave Dictionaries
May we now turn in our favorite Word Books to the definition of grumpy…
According to Merriam Webster, grumpy is defined as:
moodily cross; surly
Surly? Really? That term conjures a snappish dog or a churlish child, while all this time I’ve simply imagined myself waking in with a slightly disgruntled disposition.
Peevish? I’d buy that. Irritable? I’d buy that, too.
Happily, I’d say I don’t wake grumpy anywhere near as often as I did during the dastardly (and dear) days and nights of juggling little boys and a demanding job.
The Source of this Cantankerous Contention
As I wouldn’t want to neglect my journalistic duties, here are the particulars from the NY Daily News, indicting sleep-deprivation as the likely culprit. The article cites a study at Duke University, which indicates
… women are prone to waking up grumpier than men in the morning. The rationale: women just need more sleep, and if she’s grumpy, chances are she’s running short on mood-boosting zzzs.
Are we surprised? Are we planning to study which sex is more likely to be Snoozy or Sneezy? Women “just” need more sleep? Is this a scoop?
In all seriousness, the issue of sleep deprivation is concerning. The article goes on to point out:
Sleep-deprived women have higher risks of heart disease and depression as well as higher inflammation markers, which sleep expert Dr. Michael Breus says can lead to pain…
Women, Moods, and Work-Life (Im)Balance
What else could we consider in the grumpiness equation? What is the origin of these sleep-troubled nights?
Here are a few thoughts:
- Women carry checklists in their heads of the day’s tasks ahead; waking with those lists immediately present yields stress, stress, stress
- A woman’s routine includes more grumpy-inducing details, more fragmented activities that are potentially less satisfying – not to mention perceived as less valuable
- Women with young children are more likely to be interrupted at bedside (accosted?) or required (however charmingly) to hit the ground running to commotion and chaos
- Women suffer from greater financial strain or insecurity, and consequently – insomnia-inducing worry.
Yes, there are assumptions a-plenty in my list. No, I have no data. However, that financial item? There’s much to support the issues of pay inequity, and subsequent concerns that ensue.
As work-life issues and gender roles underlie my assumptions, are there any stay-at-home-dads who suffer some of these same sleep-stealing experiences?
Women, Sleep Deprivation, Quality of Life
Some of us are simply better sleepers, or possess a go-with-the-flow temperament regardless of life’s little ups and downs. While noting the role of sleep in our waking mood and mode, let’s not ignore the nature of our various nightly interruptions – from the days of diaper duty through carpool conundrums and on into hot flash heartache.
Clearly, I’m not discounting differences in biology, but I do think that lifestyle is where we ought to focus our attention.
I will add that feeling appreciated enhances my mood at any time of day. When I’m feeling loved and valued – regardless of how well I slept or the accessibility of Mr. Coffee, I’m rarely grumpy when I wake.
I’ve also found that when I stick to healthy habits – regular walking, reasonable eating, writing in my journal – I’m much more likely to sleep well, and even if I don’t, to wake in a measured and pleasant frame of mind.
Whatever its causes, we know that insufficient sleep remains a serious problem for women’s health, not to mention our quality of life.
A Waking Study of My Own
As for the contention that women are the grumpier gender, my vast and patently unbiased survey of one well-mannered Frenchman resulted in the following findings re Yours Truly.
Am I grumpy in the morning?
So would the Female Prickly Rousing Factor be assuaged by a simple “Take two Frenchmen and call me in the morning?”
Not exactly. And I’ll stick to one Frenchman, thank you very much. But waking to a smile and one who loves you? What’s sweeter than that?
How Many Ways Can You Spell Peevish?
On a final (writerly) note, allow me to express my surprise at the abundance of synonyms for the word “grumpy.” Frankly, they were deliciously nuanced and the mere fact of such a superb set of adjectives bounced me right out of my somewhat peevish mood this morning.
Please enjoy a tiny (but entertaining) sampling from a very long list, also from Merriam-Webster:
If only we had as many ways to capture the upside of our downside. You know. Rambunctious, vibrant, energized.
Wait! We do!
My smile is widening, even as I type them out – animated, galvanized, juiced, enlivened, invigorated. The mere existence of these delectable words puts me in a marvelous mood. How about you?
You May Also Enjoy