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Sleep Deprivation Common in Parents

Insufficient Sleep More Commonly Reported by Parents, Especially Moms, Than Adults Without Kids
By
WebMD Health News
Reviewed by Louise Chang, MD

May 23, 2007 -- It's no secret that sleep can be hard to come by when you're a parent. But a new study shows just how common sleep deprivation is for U.S. parents.

The study, presented today in San Diego at the American Psychiatric Association's annual meeting, comes from the CDC's Daniel P. Chapman, PhD, MSc.

Chapman analyzed sleep data from a 2002 government health survey of more than 79,000 adults in 18 U.S. states and Washington, D.C.

Participants included married parents with children in their home, unmarried parents living with children, and married or unmarried adults without kids.

Across the board, parents were more likely to report insufficient sleep than adults without children. And moms mentioned insufficient sleep more often than dads.

Insufficient sleep is most commonly reported by unmarried moms and least often reported by married dads, according to the data.

Parents' Sleep Shortfall

Among mothers, insufficient sleep was reported by nearly 36% of unmarried moms and almost 34% of married mothers.

Fewer fathers reported insufficient sleep (more than 30% of unmarried fathers and about 27% of married dads).

For comparison, insufficient sleep was reported by nearly 27% of unmarried women without children: about 25% of unmarried men without children, 21% of married women without children, and more than 15% of married men without children.

What's keeping those parents awake -- feeding babies in the wee hours, burning the midnight oil to help with a last-minute school project, or staying up to make sure their teen comes home by curfew? And how do sleep-deprived schedules affect parents' daily life?

The study doesn't go there. But Chapman writes that "these findings suggest the need for sleep education among families with children -- particularly mothers."

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