The Caveman Theory

by Mary Ellen Eagan

I hate it when my husband is right.  When our daughter Molly was an infant (and colicky), she rarely slept more than 2 hours at a time.  One day, a friend asked if she was sleeping through the night, and David immediately responded, “Sure.”  “What?!” I said, incredulously.  Thus began my interest in not only understanding awakenings from aircraft noise, but awakenings from crying babies.

David had an instant, easy explanation: evolution.  His basic premise was that in prehistoric times, women stayed up with babies at night so that men could be “on their game” to hunt mastodon in the morning.  Well, now there’s apparently some scientific evidence that buzzing flies are more likely to wake men than crying babies.

I guess I should stop wishing for the toilet seat to be down, huh?

But seriously, this does make me wonder if there are gender differences in awakenings from aircraft noise.  I’ve never heard of it, and assume the analysis has been done, but haven’t seen much written on the subject.  I’ll report back after this week’s FAA Noise Research Roadmap, which will be talking about awakenings.

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