Women who live with children are more likely to be sleep deprived than men in the same households, a study has shown. This was even more the case for younger women, below the age of 45.
In the UK, the Sleep Council has found that men tend to enjoy better quality sleep than women. 30% of men sleep very well compared to 22% of women. Studies have also shown that more women suffer from sleep problems and sleep deprivation usually has a more negative impact on them.
The latest study, presented at the American Academy of Neurology 2017 Annual Meeting, has looked at the factors that lead to women to feeling tired and to sleep deprivation.
The team collected data during a nationwide telephone survey of 5,805 participants. Questions included how long the participants slept for at night, and how many days they had felt tired in the past month.
Seven to nine hours of sleep a night was considered ideal by the study's authors while less than six hours was considered insufficient.
Factors such as the participants' age, race, sex, income, marital and employment status, and body mass index were discussed. The researchers also asked about the number of children present in the household.
Out of all the participants, 2,908 were women under the age of 45. For them, only one of these factors was correlated with getting enough sleep – living with children.
Just under half of the women with children slept at least seven hour and the researchers calculated that each child increased the odds of being sleep deprived by as much as 50%. In contrast, 62% women in this age group with no children slept seven hours or more.
Additionally, women with children reported feeling tired on average 14 days of the month compared to 11 days for those without children.
This relationship between children in the household and sleeping was not observed for the male participants.
"I think these findings may bolster those women who say they feel exhausted. Our study found not only are they not sleeping long enough, they also report feeling tired throughout the day," said study author Kelly Sullivan of Georgia Southern University.
"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."