Despite its importance, most adults agree that they do not get enough sleep. A 2019 study found that as many as 62% of adults do not sleep well and only 1 in 10 said they slept extremely well. That's a lot of people tossing and turning when they should be getting some shut-eye! Many factors can play a part in our ability to get a restful night's sleep, but one exciting new study has highlighted how our perception of masculinity could have an influence.
Even in 2020, a male stereotype persists and it is having a damaging effect on sleep.
A recent study highlighted that a male stereotype exists, whereby men who sleep less are perceived as being more masculine.8 A corollary also persists: a stereotype that 'masculine' men are assumed to sleep less.
This particular study goes even further by saying that men feel more masculine just by telling people how little sleep they get each night; and that they fear negative judgments if they aren't seen to be manly enough!
Underlying all of these theories is the stereotype that to look after your health isn't considered masculine. Instead, being 'stoic' is sometimes considered to be a sign of strength or independence. This is despite the fact that lack of sleep can have a considerable negative impact on our physical and mental health!
The tactics available to deal with poor sleep have long been discussed but, as well as getting the right sleep position and going to bed at a reasonable time, it now seems we also need to change our way of thinking of masculinity to help deal with this problem.
Tackling the ‘sleep-deprived masculinity stereotype’
If this is you, then rather than having an 'I'll sleep when I'm dead' kind of mantra, I would suggest investing in some tactics to help you feel more rested. You may just see improvements to your mood, productivity and energy levels as a result. Who knows, you may even be able to squeeze in an extra round on the treadmill too!
So, what can you do?
I suggest setting yourself some sleep goals. It may not do away with society's outdated ideas of masculinity, but it'll certainly help you feel better. Here's what you can do.
Relax before bed
Turn off phones, television and other technology after 9.30pm.
The blue light emitted from our tech disrupts sleep.
Get 8 hours sleep
Set a regular bed time that will allow you to get this much sleep a night.
We need around 7-9 hours' sleep a night to keep us rested and healthy.
Cut down your caffeine intake
Choose caffeine-free drinks like Bambu after lunch time.
Caffeine is a stimulant and keeps us awake. It can also linger in the system for a very long time.
Keep cool at night
Open a window and use a duvet with a low tog number.
A cool body temperature is known to facilitate better sleep.
Reduce alcohol intake
Stick to the recommended 14 units of alcohol a week (a pint has about 3). Spread this over at least 3 days, rather than drinking your weekly allowance all at once.
Alcohol reduces sleep quality, making you wake up feeling groggy and unrested.