I like to read the news first thing in the morning, as we all do, but sometimes it can be a real downer of a way to start my day. There’s poverty, disease, war; all of which can do serious damage to our happiness and wellness, even from afar. Today, when I read two different studies back to back, first that women’s sleeping patterns are the cause of marital strife then that women are more prone to depression than men, I really began to feel like the scientific community was reaching out beyond the pages of my Google Reader, grabbing me by the throat, and shaking all the loose marbles about in my head. Maybe I’m wrong, but I’m getting the impression scientists and researchers want me to know I was born a moody cow, there’s nothing I can do about it, and all relationship problems I’ve ever had, am currently having, and will have in the future, are my fault. Yeah, this is getting a little tiring, and is totally bumming me out. Science, I thought you were my friend!
The first study was performed at University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, where researchers found that women who had a bad night’s sleep would report marital strife the following day, but men’s sleeping patterns didn’t have an effect on their marital relationship. The reasons behind their findings are unclear, but I’m going to hazard a guess: Sleep patterns might be linked to sex. It’s no secret that orgasms are more elusive for women than men, and most of us can probably agree that sexual satisfaction is a good way to induce peaceful slumber. So that woman stuck tossing and turning, then picking a fight? I’m going to guess she’s sexually frustrated, and up half the night thinking of the orgasm she didn’t get.
The second study, from the Karolinksa Institute in Sweden, found that while women have more serotonin (the feel-good chemical) receptors in their brains than men, because 25% of women seek depression therapy (as opposed to 10% of men), the researchers deduced that those extra receptors are there to make the most out of the little serotonin that is available. However, even the researchers admit that 25% figure is higher because women are more willing to seek help than men, which I think speaks to our emotional and mental stability.
It’s just too easy to read these studies and think that all of our social and relationship problems are our own faults — as if no one else is to blame, and we should bear the brunt of the responsibility. Science, how could you?
Frankly, this just isn’t fair. I think our relationships are complex and shifting constantly in dynamic and status. Just because I got enough shut eye doesn’t make all my relationship problems disappear, and likewise, if I’m tired, that doesn’t mean my boyfriend is more prone to being as arse.
In addition, I am more than the sum of my chemicals. Sure, my physiology and hormones have a role to play, and I don’t discount them, but like the study pointed out, they are manageable through proper diet and exercise. Even getting enough sunlight can completely change my mood. So chemical components can be manipulated. We don’t have to be victims of our seratonin, or lack thereof.
I’m not sure why these studies were greenlighted, I’m sure the scientists will say it is all in the name of research and discovery, but it feels like someone out there wants to hide behind a medical study just to be able to say it’s ALL. OUR. FAULT.
I say, I have enough blame in my life, I don’t need it from science too!
Science, I think you and I should take a break (but I won’t say, “it’s not you, it’s me.” Because frankly, it’s you!)