Today in tell-women-something-they-don't-know news, science has confirmed what moms have been saying for years: Living with children means less sleep for women — but not for men.
In a February 2017 study that will be presented at the annual American Academy of Neurology meeting in April, Georgia Southern University researchers surveyed more than 5,800 adults on how many hours of sleep they get each night and how often they feel tired during the day.
Taking into account other factors such as race, BMI, socioeconomic status, and even snoring, the researchers found that, among women age 45 and younger, having children in the home was the only factor that seemed to affect quality of sleep. Even exercise frequency and marital status didn't have an effect like the presence of kids.
Although 62 percent of women under 45 with no kids in the house reported scoring at least seven hours of sleep each night — what researchers considered ideal — that number dropped down to just 48 percent for females with rugrats under their roof.
What's more, a woman's odds of suffering from insufficient sleep increased by as much as 50 percent for every additional child living in her home. Full-nesters also reported feeling more exhausted on a regular basis — an average of 14 days a month, compared to 11 days for empty-nesters in the same age group.
The most interesting (and perhaps validating) part of this research? Men age 45 and younger reported that having children in the home had no effect on their quality of sleep and daytime exhaustion levels.
"I think these findings may bolster those women who say they feel exhausted," study author Kelly Sullivan, PhD, an assistant professor in the Department of Epidemiology at GSU, said in a press release. "Getting enough sleep is a key component of overall health and can impact the heart, mind, and weight. It's important to learn what is keeping people from getting the rest they need so we can help them work toward better health."
Although this study is only preliminary and based on self-reported data, Dr. Sullivan is right: Consistently getting a good night's sleep is essential for keeping our bodies and minds healthy, so it's good to get a better look at what's causing our not-so-restful nights.
So there you have it, moms: justification to ask Daddy for more help with late-night baby duty and post-nightmare soothing sessions.