Sleep deprivation and baby ATMs.
Sleep has again made the headlines, as a new study finds that women don’t get enough, but want more. (Men, apparently, are sleeping all the time. Those well-rested jerks.) The culprits are the usual: children, poor sleep habits, stress, and spouses demanding another night of hot, relentless marital privilege. (That’s what we call it at our house.) Most women spend their pre-sleep hours watching television or working on the computer, which is exactly wrong: to ensure a good night’s sleep, according to the experts, you should dim the lights and engage in calming activities. (Says the writer who’s frantically typing away at 11 p.m.)
But seriously, now. Sleep problems beget mood dysfunction, which can cause sleep problems, and do you see where this is going? Into a mucky downward spiral of misery and insomnia. So treat sleep like it’s your (other) job, dear readers, because in many ways it is. In fact, lack of sleep can affect your waking hours in surprising ways, as another study brings to light. This one studied sleep deprivation and moral judgment. Subjects were deprived of sleep and then given various hypothetical dilemmas to solve. After being awake for 53 hours, it took the study subjects longer to judge the dilemmas that had an emotional, personal aspect to them. Results depended on the subject’s baseline “emotional intelligence”–the lower their e.i., the more their judgment was slowed by lack of sleep. Still, though, I like to think of myself as fairly emotionally savvy—if you’ve got that liquid stuff coming from your eyes, I totally know what’s going on—and yet I know that my own moral compass was spinning wildly a few days into my infant son’s all-night feeding-and-screaming marathons. Wait, so I shouldn’t leave him on the stoop? Or I shouldn’t not leave him on the stoop?
Leaving babies on stoops, of course, is no laughing matter (I forgot that it wasn’t, because of this damned sleep deprivation). Babies are abandoned regularly in the U.S., and the risk of homicide on the first day of life is 10 times greater than the rate during any other time of life
It’s an appalling statistic, to be sure. And it’s no less appalling because the perpetrators of these crimes are, generally, victims in their own right: terrified young girls, usually ones who have been able to hide their pregnancies, who dump their babies and run, hoping no one will find out.
To help curb this epidemic of baby abandonment (and worse), safe surrender laws have been enacted over the past decade in 47 states. The safe surrender law enables parents to turn children over to authorities without facing charges of abandonment.
Sounds simple, right? In most states, however, the baby must be checked for signs of child abuse, during which time the mother has to be present. A necessary step, perhaps, but one that could possibly frighten away the girls whose babies most need saving. (For more information on safe havens, visit the National Save Haven Alliance.)
As always, they do it better in Europe. So-called “foundling wheels,” where mothers could place babies and skedaddle before anyone cross-examined them, were used for centuries throughout Europe. And recently a modern-day version of the foundling wheel has opened up at a hospital in Rome: an ATM-like portal allows mothers to drop off their babies. The person dropping off the baby simply lifts a glass hatch; inside is a heated crib. Sensors alert doctors that a baby is waiting. And then the baby is awarded a lifetime supply of designer shoes and gelato.
Ah, if only.
And now, here are some other news items of interest:
Not Viagra, we hope: Many Children Prescribed Adults-Only Meds
It just figures: Women at Increased Risk of HIV from Circumcision
Well, fine, then: No Baby Pictures, Please
Hillary wants YOU… to vote for her: Clinton eyes new target with ‘women for Hillary’ campaign