I love a scientific scapegoat to explain my sometimes erratic/nonsensical/repugnant behaviour. And here's a new one. Researchers from Duke University, North Carolina, who questioned men and women about their sleep patterns, have found that women suffer much more when deprived of sleep. Those women who slept poorly, says The Daily Mail, reported more symptoms of depression, hostility and anger – in addition to a thickening of the arteries, which can lead to heart disease, and higher levels of fibrinogen, which can lead to blood clots/stroke – though men with sleeping difficulties showed no increase in these conditions.
"The study suggests that poor sleep - measured by the total amount of sleep, the degree of awakening during the night, and most importantly, how long it takes to get to sleep - may have more serious health consequences for women than for men," says Dr Edward Suarez, associate professor in the Duke department of psychiatry and behavioural sciences. "We found that for women, poor sleep is strongly associated with high levels of psychological distress, and greater feelings of hostility, depression and anger. In contrast, these feelings were not associated with the same degree of sleep disruption in men."
So now, in addition to making you super-sized, sleep deprivation can give you depression and heart attacks! All the more reason to cosy up with a good book and catch some guilt-free zs.
Meanwhile, The Sydney Morning Herald asks, is celebrity cook Nigella Lawson a curvy goddess or dumpy frump? Gabriella Coslovich writes, "The near-hysteria with which some worship Lawson's carnality is a sign of just how starved contemporary culture is of rotund, sensual role models — of women, in short, who embody the pleasures of the flesh... [yet] as anyone addicted to her cooking shows would have noted, [her body weight] has been creeping towards the less glamorous side of the scale, becoming more corpulent than carnal." Lawson, who uses liberal doses of full-fat cream and lard in her cooking, has reportedly started to see a personal trainer.
Weight gain can be an unhealthy thing, for sure, but strict diet/exercise regimes drain your brain (who has time to think about politics when there are calories to account for? A robust figure = a robust mind.), make you moody and boring (would you rather party with a celery stick or a cupcake?) and stifle your creativity (been there, done that; it's no fun). As The Sunday Times reported last year, not only do men find curvy women more attractive, women with hourglass figures, like Nigella's, are brighter, too. Which makes me think: exactly who do we diet for? Besides, as Professor Dick Telford recently wrote in the Herald (Skinny folk can't rest easy), as long as we are physically active (and, therefore, can climb a flight of stairs without passing out), it is not technically unhealthy to be overweight (fat and fit people are less prone to chronic disease than thin, unfit people).
My favourite food doctor, Dr. Rick Kausman, tells the Herald Lawson is a good role model, whose philosophy about enjoying food is important at a time when people have developed warped relationships with food, with fad or restrictive diets leading to anxiety and guilt.
I personally love Nigella's fleshy, womanly look – she makes eating pleasurable, curves sexy and lives life with the gusto one can't manage when calorie-deprived (bet she has no gnawing night-time hunger pangs depriving her of sleep, either). Her figure certainly outweighs the skin and bones little-girl shapes we're accustomed to seeing in the media.
Girl With a Satchel