Women suffer from a lack of sleep after they have children far more than men do.
Researchers from Georgia Southern University have suggested that while fathers’ sleep is not affected by the presence of children in the house, mothers are not so lucky. This claim was based on a survey of more than 5,800 adults.
Each participant was asked about how long they usually slept at night and how often they felt tired during the day. The ideal length of time to sleep was anywhere between seven and nine hours per night with any less than six regarded as “lacking”.
Only 48 per cent of mothers claimed they slept at least seven hours a night. By contrast, as many as 62 per cent of those without children said they regularly got enough sleep. There was also a noticeable difference in the amount of days women said they were tired. While childless women reportedly felt tired on an average of 11 days each month, mothers experienced 14 such days.
Lead researcher Dr Kelly Sullivan is an assistant professor of epidemiology at Georgia Southern University. She said that men were not affected in the same way. The research team “did basically the same analysis and [found that] children had absolutely no impact” on the number of hours they slept but she was unable to say why that was the case.
In the analysis of women’s sleep patterns the only significant factor among those who slept less was children. Other factors such as marital status, exercise or education had little effect on women’s sleep patterns. The lack of sleep got worse with more children as “each child in the house increased the odds of insufficient sleep by 50 per cent” she explained.
Dr Sullivan said that an adequate amount of sleep was “a key component of overall health and can impact the heart, mind and weight” so it was “important to learn what is keeping people from getting the rest they need so we can help them work toward better health”.
This research is scheduled to be presented at the American Academy of Neurology’s 69th Annual Meeting in Boston, Massachusetts, in April.