Women who live with children are often sleep-deprived, but living with kids may not affect men’s sleep, according to a study that will be presented at the American Academy of Neurology’s annual meeting in April. Sleep-deprived women polled for the study reported not sleeping enough hours at night and often feeling tired during the day.
Life with Children: Sleep Deprivation for Women?
The study looked at data from a nationwide phone survey of 5,805 people. Respondents answered questions about their sleep habits, how frequently they felt tired, their body mass index, employment status, history of snoring, and whether they lived with children. They also answered demographic questions about age, race, education, income, marital status, and similar data.
Among the 2,908 women 45 and younger, the most important predictor of sleep was whether a woman lived with children. Researchers defined inadequate sleep as less than seven hours per night. Every child a woman lived with increased the odds of inadequate sleep by almost 50%. Less than half (48%) of women who lived with children reported at least seven hours of sleep each night, compared to 62% without children.
Factors such as exercise, marital status, and education did not affect women’s nightly sleep. Women with children were also more likely to feel tired during the day, reporting an average 14 days of monthly tiredness. Women without children reported 11 days of tiredness each month.
Mental Health Concerns for Sleep-Deprived Parents
Research consistently shows parents get less sleep than people without children. A 2016 report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) found single mothers are more sleep-deprived than any other group. About 44% of single moms sleep less than the recommended minimum of seven hours a night. About 38% of single fathers sleep less than seven hours. Sleep deprivation can lead to many mental health concerns, including depression, anxiety, and stress.
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