The biggest advice you’ll get from friends before becoming a parent is – get some sleep. It’s no secret that being a parent is tiring. But which parent does it affect the most?
New research by the American Academy of Neurology finds that unlike men, a good night’s sleep for women is affected by having children in the house.
“I think these findings may bolster those women who say they feel exhausted,” said study author Kelly Sullivan, PhD, of Georgia Southern University in Statesboro, Ga., and a member of the American Academy of Neurology. “Our study found not only are they not sleeping long enough, they also report feeling tired throughout the day.”
For the study, researchers examined data from a nationwide telephone survey of 5,805 people. Participants were asked how long they slept, with seven to nine hours per day considered optimum and less than six hours considered insufficient. They were also asked how many days they felt tired in the past month.
Researchers looked at age, race, education, marital status, number of children in the household, income, body mass index, exercise, employment and snoring as possible factors linked to sleep deprivation.
When looking at 2,908 women aged 45 years and younger in the study, it was found that when there were children in the house, each child increased the odds of insufficient sleep by nearly 50 percent.
Forty-eight percent of women with children reported getting at least seven hours of sleep, compared to 62 percent of women without children.
When the team looked at other factors including exercise, marital status and education, none of these were linked to how long younger women slept.
Younger women with children reported feeling tired 14 days per month, on average, compared to 11 days for younger women without children in the household.
On the flip side having kids in the house was not linked to how long men slept.
“Getting enough sleep is a key component of overall health and can impact the heart, mind and weight,” said Sullivan, “It’s important to learn what is keeping people from getting the rest they need so we can help them work toward better health.”
Jodi A. Mindell, PhD, a professor of psychology at St. Joseph’s University in Philadelphia told WEBMD, “A lot of moms see the night as their own quiet time to relax or as a chance to get things done that they couldn’t during the day. So instead of going to bed earlier to compensate for the sleep they’re losing in the night, mothers might stay up later — further eroding the time they sleep.”