Study Shows These Parents Sleep the Least

A new survey from the CDC sheds a light on parents' sleep patterns, including who regularly gets less than the recommended seven hours.

woman lying awake in bed
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When my kids were young, I remember fantasizing about checking into a hotel room for the weekend by myself, hopping into the big king-sized bed, and sleeping for the next 48 hours straight.


Let's be honest: Having kids can be exhausting. As parents, we know all about the ever-elusive good night's sleep. Now comes the news that, if you're a single parent, you've got it even worse when it comes to catching Zs.

According to a new report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 43 percent of all single parents said they sleep for less than seven hours each night, while only two-thirds of adults who live in a two-parent household or have no children reported the same.

And that's a pretty big difference, says Colleen Nugent, a statistician with the CDC. "Sleep is another domain where single families are disadvantaged compared with other family types," she said. "Single parents get less sleep and experience more sleep-related problems than adults in other types of families."

Particularly if you're a single mom; The report found that 44 percent of single females living with children younger than 18 fall short of the recommended seven hours of shut-eye, while that number drops to 38 percent for single dads.

And while both single moms and single dads have trouble falling and staying asleep, the researchers found moms take the lead here, too, with 24 percent of single moms and 17 percent of single dads reporting they had trouble falling asleep at least four times a week. In addition, 28 percent of single moms and 19 percent of single dads had trouble staying asleep four or more times a week. But both feel the brunt of it in the morning, with 52 percent of single moms and 40 percent of single dads reporting they did not feel well rested four or more days a week.

This is the first time this survey asked about the quality of that sleep among adults between ages 18 and 64. "We're starting to understand how important sleep health is," Nugent says, adding that the team hoped to learn more about how well adults sleep in single- and two-parent households, as well as homes without children. But while the data does reveal the answers to those questions, Nugent says it doesn't tell us why single parents have a worse time getting a good night's sleep.

Care to venture a guess?

Hollee Actman Becker is a freelance writer, blogger, and a mom. Check out her website for more, and follow her on Twitter at @holleewoodworld.

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