Studies Show Mums Are More Sleep Deprived Than Dads

Not surprisingly, a recent study has proved what we all already know. A study has now proven that mothers are more sleep deprived than fathers. The study went on to prove that women with more number of children had more difficulties with sleep when compared to women with just one child. Also, the study shows that the presence or absence of children has no effect on the men or their sleep patterns. It is known that various factors play a role in defining the sleep patterns of the parents. Enlisted are studies based on the various factors affecting the sleep patterns in both men and women.

Based On Number Of Kids

It has been found that women with children are tired on more days in a month when compared to women with no children. “Forty-eight percent of women with children reported at least seven hours of sleep, compared to 62 percent of women without children,” said study leader Kelly Sullivan, an assistant professor of epidemiology at the Jiann-Ping Hsu College of Public Health at Georgia Southern University.


Sullivan along with her colleagues analyzed data from a nationwide survey which comprised of more than 5,800 men and women. The reports showed how long they slept each night. The optimum time was seven to nine hours while less than six hours was considered as lacking. The study also took note of how many days they felt tired in a month. It has been found that on an average, women with children felt tired for 14 days in a month whereas women without children felt tired only for 11 days a month.

Of the 3,000 women who were younger than 45, the only common factor among women who complained of sleep deprivation was having children. “Each child in the house increased the odds of insufficient sleep by 50 percent,” Sullivan said. “For men, we did basically the same analysis and children had absolutely no impact on men (and their sleep),” she added.

Based On Breastfeeding

Although studies prove the above, the reason or explanation behind these results is not known due to limited information. Furthermore, it is not known if the age of the children makes any difference and if so how it matters. But it is known that women who breastfeed are more likely to suffer more lack of sleep. This is because these mothers are disturbed as they wake up in the middle of the night to feed their babies.

Also, other factors such as exercise, marital status, and education were taken into account while performing this study and showed that these made no effect on the study. Therefore it has been established that women under the age of 45 are sleep deprived solely because they have children.

Based On Parents’ Income

When studies were performed among men, it showed that those men who have less than a high school education had greater odds of being sleep-deprived. The same study among women showed that women who don’t work and have a higher household income get more sleep.

On the contrary to the whole study, another sleep specialist came up with opposing views and opinions. “Even before having children, “men in general, may be getting less sleep than women,” said Jodi Mindell, associate director of the Sleep Center at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia.

Based On Age Of The Children

Mindell in her research has found that mothers who have newborn children up to age 3 get less sleep that those mothers who have children of ages 3 to 6. She further suggests that parents should make a working plan such that they share the household duties including child care so as to ensure each parent gets enough sleep. “It doesn’t have to be 50-50, but it’s sharing it,” she said. Mindell suggests the parent who works on weekdays can take over night time child duty over the weekends while the stay-at-home parent does the night time child duty on weekdays.

This way, Mindell feels that a balance would be developed and both the parents can visibly notice an increase in their sleeping patterns. The study findings are to be presented at the American Academy of Neurology’s annual meeting in Boston. Such research presented at meetings is considered preliminary until it is published in a peer-reviewed journal.