I never understood why women seem to always have trouble sleeping. So I set out to do a little investigative work and see if there was validity to this. As I Googled “Why women can’t sleep” it got 86,600 results. Out of curiosity I decided to remove the “wo” from “women” and see what Google spat out. I was actually floored when it returned 5…yes that is right…5 results, of which the first two were actually links that said “Why Women can’t sleep,” the 3rd link was about men and women sleep problems, and I guess the last two were actually legit.

The funny thing is that one of the common links for why women couldn’t sleep led me to the following picture and caption:

Every one of those little blue balls is a thought about something that needs to be done, a decision or a problem that needs to be solved. 

A man has only 2 balls and they take up all his thoughts.

I knew it!!! Not so much that men’s balls take up all his thoughts but rather how busy a women’s mind is and this highly scientific diagram proves it! It’s all too common that I hear a woman confess her sleeping issues. It probably makes little sense to me because I, like most men, have this ear button that when depressed by a pillow it renders me five-levels deep in a heavily sedated Inception type sleep. I’ve always heard my mother complaining about how she didn’t sleep well “last night” while my father would be passed-out-cold, in about 5 minutes after he molded his body into his favorite lazy-boy type chair, with remote clutched under his interlaced steepled fingers pointing at the sky as if to harness the gods of snore. It was this way in the Alonso household for years and probably still is. I actually really never thought much about why it was this way.

But as time passed and my study of human behavior intensified, I feel I cracked the code that might be contributing to these sleep habits. At first I thought it could be a simple prehistoric cave-man days inherent trait that women sleep lighter so they can watch over the little ones while the hunting and battling men need a deeper rest before they go off to pillage the next town or protect the village from T-Rex. Yeah, it might be all that but as the diagram proves, I actually believe it has to do with the way we think – more specifically, how much we think.

Although neither sex’s thought process is necessarily better than the others, they each seem to have different levels of reflection. For the most part, men think in very simple terms – it doesn’t mean we are simple creatures but rather we just aren’t very deep or philosophical in assessing daily or lifetime events. Thinking is an easy analytical process for us; it is a cause and effect and we do not expend much brainpower on the hypotheticals and “what ifs” or “what could have been”. If a problem presents itself we tend to look for the simplest, quickest and most rational solution. If no solution exists we simply proceed to the next quandary and just deal with it the best we can. Men take on one cause at a time. We don’t generally ponder, dwell, or become consumed by our thoughts. This does not mean we handle things in a mature manner because it can easily set us off and end up tantruming like a petulant child or blowing-up like Mount Vesuvius. However, we usually get over it and we will forget about it never to be mentioned again (maybe due to our embarrassment of the situation).

Women however, are our polar opposites…their thought diagram/decision tree resembles the pair of intertwined struggling Toomer’s Corner Oaks. The activity of a woman’s brain wave function can easily remind one of the turbulent surface of the Bering Sea during Opilio Crab Season. It is possible that they also think in cause and effect, yet so much of their energy is spent analyzing 7 effects down the line and all of the unintended consequences. Then they spend countless time rethinking their decisions, hashing out previous options and then getting all worked up about something that is a done deal and by now a moot point.

In essence, men are simple, very simple, and women are pretty complicated. If it is out of a man’s circle of influence we don’t deal with it; while women tend to reach way beyond their circle and find wormholes into other realms and dimensions of concern and take on preoccupations that make no sense to us.

With this being said, it is probably one of the reasons men get so annoyed and never seem to know how to answer women’s random-ass questions about hypothetical scenarios that will possibly never happen. Even if the situation presented itself, we really wouldn’t know what our response would be until the damn thing actually happened. Sure we can give them the “correct” answer, or more like the one they want to hear, but we’ll probably only end up getting challenged on it, followed by a series of White House press corps interrogation questions. However as a man, the way I see it, nobody actually knows how things will go down until it’s go-time. So why waste time thinking of crock-pot/crack-pipe schemes?

Now that we have now covered the depth of thinking, there is also the timeline of contemplation. Men spend about 90% of their thoughts (obviously not including sex) dealing with an approximate 72-hour period. For us, if it isn’t happening tomorrow, hasn’t occurred today or didn’t happen yesterday it doesn’t matter much to us, and therefore we only give it 10% of our brain-wave attention. Our counter-parts have no statue of limitations on what ails them. Nothing is too far off in the future or back in the past to ponder. It could be a grade school decision that was made years ago or maybe it’s the fear of growing to be 40 something years old and finally having a child just as you stress out that your youngen will be a teenager as you turn 60. Granted that could be worrisome stuff and I don’t mean to make light of it, but really, does using up brain power for things 20 years ago or 20 years from now make for an effective use of time and energy? Don’t think so.

So in mentally crunching all this out in my head, something dawned on me and recalled my mother’s comments about regretting not reading to us nor breast-feeding my brother sister and I as kids and whether that played a role in my not being a more scholarly student or my brother’s current day boob fetish. She often stresses out wondering if maybe she should have done this or could have done that. Will her grandkids be as big a pain-in-the-bunda as my siblings and I were? And I’m not even scratching the surface of her list of worries. Meanwhile my father hears any of the sort issues and either shrugs his shoulders or rolls his eyes and goes on to talking about the 40 foot Viking Express Fisherman with Volvo-Penta IPS engines and what the fishing forecast looks like for tomorrow.

As our motor is running during the day our mind tends to be in task mode – we usually don’t stop to ponder such scenarios. So when do we have time to think about all these things? Usually the time to gather our thoughts only happens when things slow down. I know for me my mind is clearest before bed…call it prayer, reflection or meditation time. I’m able to have a few quite moments before my mind goes blank and…boom; I’m into my REM. The window from action to sleep for men is smaller than Angelina Jolie’s window of singleness. Men don’t ponder on too much in this small gap. We don’t need to mentally replay the day’s decisions, ponder the status of our 401k, or wonder what would have happened if we would have ponyed-up and sent the kids to private school instead of Ridgemont High. As our minds are null and void of heaviness, women don’t allow this gap to be silent instead it kick-starts the wheels into high gear and the deliberation machine begins to churn out mental algorithms of worry and concern. No wonder they have trouble sleeping…with as much as goes through their heads I’m surprised they can sleep at all!

It is now clear as day for me. Women think too much and men don’t think much at all and it all magnified when we get horizontal. Excitedly, upon concluding this blog I sent it to my editor-in-chief, he reviewed it briefly and made some critiques but didn’t share my enthusiasm. In a lukewarm manner, as to not hurt my feelings, he said he kinda didn’t agree or get it. I thought about it for a while and that same night I received an email from him sent a 3am. I asked him what the hell he was doing up at that time. He said he woke up because he had some random thought in his head he had to write down. I realized why he didn’t understand this blog…because although my editor-in-chief is a man…he sleeps like a woman. Ladies, do you want to sleep better? Sleep like a man.

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