Science has finally put sleep dispute to bed

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This year is fast shaping up to be a game-changer for womankind, one which our wives, mothers and daughters could look back on and say “2016 made the difference”.

We now know that post-Brexit Britain will be led by a woman Prime Minister, after Theresa May was this week handed the keys to Number 10 when her only challenger, the inexperienced Andrea Leadsom, threw in the towel within a matter of days of the Tory leadership contest beginning.

This, along with Angela Eagle challenging for the Labour leadership, coupled with the fact that Hillary Clinton stands a great chance of beating Donald Trump into the White House, and the world begins to look a lot different.

But the sisterhood has received an even bigger boost in the past week after a study revealed that not only do women need more sleep but it is required because their brains are deemed to be more complex.

You could almost hear maniacal cackles drift out of living rooms up and down the land as ladies saw centuries of arguments seemingly ended once and for all. The thorny subject of who needs the most sleep is one which has long caused domestic strife, especially when a relationship involves little people.

Children are the original sleep thieves and there is nothing that exhausted parents enjoy more than to bicker about who is closer to a nervous breakdown due to lack of shuteye. As a dad of an 11-month-old, I am well versed in the art of pretending to be asleep and ignoring the exaggerated sighs of the other half as she makes yet another futile trip cotside. That’s not to say the boot isn’t often on the other foot.

When I first learnt about the study, my immediate reaction was to snort “so says some woman” only to discover that the lead professor was a German called Martin. Professor Martin rubbed further salt into the wounds when he revealed extensive tests showed that while lengthy sleeps at night benefited the intelligence of women, it had little effect on the men who were tested.

While our future prosperity now rests largely in the hands of May and, to a lesser extent, Clinton, the fact that science has (ahem) put to bed one of the greatest disputes of modern times may have even longer lasting consequences.