Why Women Wake When a Baby Cries

Why Women Wake When a Baby Cries


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Illustration by Barry Falls

What sound is most likely to wake a sleeping woman? An infant’s wail — and that is true whether or not she has children of her own.

What sound is most likely to wake a sleeping man? A car alarm going off, followed by the howling of the wind (not a baby) and the buzzing of a fly. A crying baby is not even on the list of the 10 most sleep-disturbing sounds for men.

Those are the results of research by the British company Mindlab, which combines neuroscience and marketing (and which conducted this particular study at the behest of a “nighttime flu tablet” manufacturer). Volunteers in a sleep lab were attached to an electroencephalography machine, and a variety of recorded noises were played. The EEG recorded disturbances in brain activity in response to each.

The full lists are as follows: READ MORE