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Single Moms tend to Sleep Less than Others, Study Finds

Update Date: Jan 07, 2016 11:44 AM EST

Sleep is vital for overall health and single parents, particularly mothers, are not getting enough of it.

"Our study contributes something by paying some attention to the health of single parents themselves," Colleen N. Nugent of NCHS told The Huffington Post. "Given how important sleep is for health and wellbeing, it's something we need to pay attention to."

According to a new survey conducted by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's (CDC) National Center for Health Statistics, single parents with children under 18 have the worst sleeping patterns when compared to adults who are a part of two-parent households and adults with no children.

The survey focused on four measurements of sleep.

First, they looked into how long these three groups of adults slept on average. They found that 43.5 percent of single mothers reported sleeping less than seven hours per night. In women from two-parent families and in women with no children, only 31.2 percent and 29.7 percent, respectively, stated that they slept less than seven hours a day. The rate in single dads was 37.5 percent.

Second, the survey asked how many of them had trouble falling asleep and 24 percent of single moms stated that they did, which was the highest rate followed by single dads.

The third measurement was difficult staying asleep, which 28.2 percent of single moms stated was a problem for them. The last measurement asked whether or not they felt rested when they woke up. The majority of single moms, at 52 percent, stated that they did not feel rested. The rates recorded for women from two-parent families and women with no children were 46.6 percent and 39.1 percent, respectively.

The researchers noted that even though single dads had a lower quality of sleep when compared to adults from two-parent families and adults with no children, single mothers still had it worse. They argue that this disparity between single moms and dads could be due to the hormones tied to a woman's menstrual cycle, pregnancy or menopause.

"These results are not surprising," Dr. Stuart Quan, a sleep medicine specialist and researcher at Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston, commented to Live Science. "In general, people tend to sacrifice sleep when they have competing priorities, such as work, family responsibilities and social obligations."

Dr. Quan was not involved with the research.

The researchers concluded that since sleep greatly affects overall health, helping single parents, especially mothers, find ways of improving their sleep would be vital.

For more information on the survey, click here.

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