This isn’t very shocking: A new study has shown that single moms get less sleep than pretty much everyone else in the world.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention study is the first of its kind to compare the bedtime habits of solo moms, parents, and the child-free. And that’s an important study to conduct since more and more children are being born today to unmarried women, the Huffington Post reported.
The study also revealed that women in general sleep worse than the men in their lives.
“Our study contributes something by paying some attention to the health of single parents themselves,” said researcher Colleen N. Nugent. “Given how important [it] is for health and wellbeing, it’s something we need to pay attention to.”
To arrive at these unsurprising conclusions, the CDC analyzed data from the latest annual National Health Interview Survey, which conducted face-to-face interviews with 44,000 people aged 18 to 64. Among these folks, 69 percent had no kids under 18 at home, 26 percent were in two-parent families with kids at home, and 5 percent were parents going it alone, LiveScience explained. The genders were equally represented.
And here’s what they found: By far, people without kids slept the best, and single moms didn’t get nearly enough.
Among single parents, 43 percent get less than seven hours, which is the minimum needed for good health. Roughly 30 percent each of adults in two-parent families and the child-free achieved seven hours of sleep a night.
And in another stat that will sound very familiar to most lone moms, over half of them regularly wake up feeling groggy. Just under half of women in two-parent families and 39 percent of child-free women reported the same.
That single moms are regularly reporting really poor sleep patterns is a big deal because it’s linked to a slew of physical and mental health issues, explained sociologist Kristi Williams.
“Other research has shown that (raising children alone) is linked to stress and psychological distress. However, we know very little about the processes that underlie these patterns. This new report is important because it suggests that sleep detriments may play an important role.”
Not sleeping enough every night increases your risk of heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, and risk of death. It also weakens the immune system and makes you more likely to get sick. Lack of Zzzzs can also ruin your ability to learn, your memory, and lead to poor judgment.
And this is a big deal because rates of single parenthood are rising in the U.S. A bit less than half of all babies born are being taken care of by single moms.
There were some limitations to this study, however. While plenty of single moms can relate to these sobering stats, the research didn’t actually find a definitive link between single parenthood and poor sleep. Further, single parents are more likely to be poor or members of specific minority groups, so it’s not clear if those factors play a greater role.
The study also didn’t specify whether the country’s sleepy moms were part-time or full-time caretakers, but everyone knows people raising kids alone have a lot less time on their hands than married parents. And, of course, there are plenty of other demands in life.
“In general, people tend to sacrifice sleep when they have competing priorities, such as work, family responsibilities and social obligations,” said specialist Dr. Stuart Quan.
One thing is pretty certain, and it’s bad news if you’re female. As a rule, you sleep worse than men starting from about the moment of menstruation, all the way into old age. Women have more trouble falling and staying asleep, and often wake up groggy.
Women may be cursed with this reality because of hormones related to periods, pregnancy, and menopause.
[Image via Ollyy/Shutterstock]