Moms Get Less Sleep Than Dads & We Finally Have Proof

tired mom
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Feel exhausted all the damn time? Well, you're not alone (not that there’s much comfort in that -- sorry!) ... and you're definitely not imagining it. A mom's work never ends, which is why it's no surprise that a new study found moms get less sleep than dads and women who don't have kids. Of course, modern-day, hands-on fathers might disagree with these findings, but most moms probably feel they're pretty spot-on.

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How many times do well-intentioned family members, neighbors, and even strangers in the supermarket tell new moms to catch up on sleep while the baby naps? Hint: all the time. But how many moms really do? None that I know! Why? Because in those precious few hours, moms are tackling laundry, washing bottles, prepping dinners, and taking care of all the rest of the stuff that needs to get done. Even when we could have some downtime, we rarely take it, but our lack of rest seems to be taking a toll.

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This sleep study, which will be presented at the American Academy of Neurology’s 69th Annual Meeting in Boston in April, looked at the sleep habits of more than 5,800 adults. Researchers discovered that having children in the house significantly reduced the number of hours moms slept per night (duh); meanwhile, dads' shut-eye remained unaffected.

"I think these findings may bolster those women who say they feel exhausted," noted study coauthor Kelly Sullivan, PhD, of Georgia Southern University.
 
Totally! The study looked at age, race, marital status, education, income, body mass index, exercise, employment, number of kids in the household, and even snoring as possible reasons for losing sleep. Unsurprisingly, the common denominator among those women not getting enough shut-eye was the fact that they have children in the house.
 

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It feels like once you become a mother, you never really turn off completely. Whether you're listening for a crying baby or waiting for a teenager to come home, you're almost always on duty. While many fathers are right there when it comes to midnight feedings or chaperoning sleepovers and camping trips, it doesn't seem like they're allowing the parenting role to impact their sleep the way women do.

How many times have you seen a dad doze off while sitting upright on a couch in the middle of a light saber duel that any mom knows will end in either crying, broken glass, or both? My husband could snore his way through a birthday party at Chuck E. Cheese's and never think twice about it. 

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While this study doesn't really tell us anything we moms didn't already know, if you're reaching for a cup of coffee this afternoon, know that it's totally justified. Also, try to put these findings to good use and get some much-needed rest.

As much as we might joke about being tired, getting the seven to nine hours of sleep per night that's recommended by the National Sleep Foundation is really what we should strive for.

"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," Sullivan noted. 

There you have it, moms. If you somehow manage to find time for a nap today, go for it. 

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