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Having Kids Means Less Sleep for Women, but Not for Men

Glamour logo Glamour 2017-03-02 Suzannah Weiss

New parents often talk about the toll a newborn can take on their sleeping habits, but as it turns out, it may not be so bad—if you're a man, that is. If you're a woman, having kids can wreak havoc on your sleep schedule, according to a new study.

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Researchers from the American Academy of Neurology and Georgia Southern University analyzed data from a survey that asked 5,805 Americans how much they slept each night and how often they felt tired over the past month. For every child a woman 45 and under had, she was 50 percent less likely to get six hours of sleep or more per night. Only 48 percent of moms in this age group got seven hours or more, compared to 62 percent of women without children. On average, women with kids felt tired for two weeks out of every month, compared to 11 days for those without kids. No such pattern existed for men.

These results don't really come as a surprise, since women in heterosexual relationships still do the majority of housework and are responsible for child care. But the study has huge implications, since sleep affects everything from your memory to your chances of getting sick. Plus, some research suggests women need more sleep than men.

“I think these findings may bolster those women who say they feel exhausted,” study author Kelly Sullivan, PhD, said in a press release (as if we needed data to prove that). “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.”

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