What Wakes You Up? Men vs. Women

what wakes you up

If you wanted to market a new cold and flu remedy intended to help suffering men and women get the rest they need, it might be helpful to know what kind of sounds are most likely to wake them up. At least that’s what a company hired UK-based neuromarketing firm MindLab to find out. The results of their study, which used EEG data to detect which sounds were most disturbing, are interesting:

Top ten sounds most likely to wake men:
1. Car alarm
2. Howling wind
3. Buzzing fly
4. Snoring
5. Noise from drains
6. Crickets chirruping
7. Sirens
8. Clock ticking
9. Drilling/workmen
10.Dripping tap

Top ten sounds most likely to wake women:
1. Baby crying
2. Dripping tap
3. Rowdiness
4. Snoring
5. Buzzing fly
6. Drilling/workmen
7. Sirens
8. Car alarm
9. Howling wind
10. Noise from drains

[From Chicago Tribune - Julie's Health Club - Top 10 sounds that wreck your sleep by Julie Deardorff.]

The most striking gender difference is “crying baby,” which is the #1 disruptor of women’s sleep. Babies don’t even make the top 10 list for men, who are more likely to be woken by crickets chirping and dripping faucets.

The strangest one on both lists is “noise from drains” – do Brits have unusually raucous drain pipes?


This post was written by:

— who has written 985 posts on Neuromarketing.

Roger Dooley writes and speaks about marketing, and in particular the use of neuroscience and behavioral research to make advertising, marketing, and products better. He is the primary author at Neuromarketing, and founder of Dooley Direct LLC, a marketing consultancy. Follow him on Twitter.

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5 responses to "What Wakes You Up? Men vs. Women" — Your Turn


Dr. Pete 9. December 2009 at 9:18 am

That picture at the top of the post woke me up, and not in a good way :)


Roger Dooley
Twitter: rogerdooley
9. December 2009 at 9:37 am

I think something came out of his noisy drain. :)



Ummara 9. December 2009 at 3:46 pm

The reason for the ‘baby sound’ difference is that women are wired to wake up the frequency of baby cries!

PS: The look on the guy’s face in the picture shows the love he has for his job!


Lizzie Maughan 10. December 2009 at 8:26 am

Yes, the Brits are a bit challenged in the world of plumbing… they are still trying to master mixer taps and installing showers!


The Persuader 11. December 2009 at 4:45 am

You are so right ‘Lizzie’. Only this morning I lambasted my butler for not getting enough hot water up from the kitchen for my weekly bath. Oh for the miracle of hot running water, showers and mixer taps.
Also, we still get ‘pea soup-er’ fog on a daily basis here in London, wear top hats and capes, call everybody ‘Guvnor’ and ride around in horse drawn carriages……


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1 response to "What Wakes You Up? Men vs. Women" — Your Turn