Moms of this number of children tend to get the most sleep (surprisingly)

One in three Americans doesn’t get enough sleep according to a recent study published by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The American Academy of Sleep and The Sleep Research Society recommends healthy adults between the ages of 18 and 60, sleep at least seven hours each night.

The Director of the CDC ‘s Division of Population health reports, “As a nation, we are not getting enough sleep,” said Wayne Giles, M.D., director of CDC’s Division of Population Health. “Lifestyle changes such as going to bed at the same time each night; rising at the same time each morning; and turning off or removing televisions, computers, mobile devices from the bedroom, can help people get the healthy sleep they need.”Considering, how big a role distractions play in keeping us up at night, it follows that mom’s are having considerable trouble obtaining quality sleep.

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A new study published by Amerisleep, analyzing data from The American Time Use Survey from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, which included a sample size of 31, 621 individuals, posits that mothers of three get the least amount of sleep of any other demographic observed in the report. Oddly enough, however, mothers of five children were found to be the most well-rested, securing an average of 9.0 hours a night, which is two hours more than the recommended amount.

The Parents with the worst sleep


“By the time parents have five children, they’ve figured out a way to maximize sleep despite the demands of their busy lives whereas parents who have three children are generally outnumbered for the first time and that may take away their ability to sleep as long,” Nicole Canon told Today Parents.  

Today was actually the first to break the story, in their segment, detailing why moms of five have the best shot at consistent good night’s rest. The strange thing is, as indexed in the chart above, while it’s true mothers of five children score the most sleep, most parents receive more than the amount of sleep recommended by medical experts. These results varied by gender, but only fractionally.  The average father of one achieved around 8.8 hours of sleep per night, whereas the average dad of five got something closer to 8.4 hours of sleep a night.

Moms with multiple children were also found to multitask more, and also engage in a bit more napping than dads did. The other factor that notably influenced quality sleep for parents was the ages of the children in the home.  Dads with daughters between the ages of one and five and sons between the ages of 13 and 17 got the least sleep of the male respondents. Moms with daughters of the ages two and under and sons under the age of one got the least sleep of the female respondents.

The difference between these metrics owes themselves principally to responsibility and neuroscience. A recent study cited in the study titled, Do Women Need More Sleep Than Men? Published by the National Sleep Foundation, list the various factors that often sees women requiring more sleep than men. Some of them are neurological, like the studied tendency to multitask, others are things like, “being woken up and moved around on the bed by the partner, (men tend to be larger than women)”  or worrying about problems and losing sleep as a result. Moreover, in the latest study, women were found to spend about an hour more each day on household activities then men do, which might explain why women clock in 12 more minutes of sleep than their male counterparts.

Some have pointed out that there were potential variables noticeably absent from the new study. For example, an independent study conducted by The Pew Research Center, revealed that, on balance, working moms receive about five hours less sleep than stay at home moms do.



Even still the latest study offers a pretty concrete explanation for the broad findings. A sizeable portion of mothers of five children observed in the survey has grown accustomed to balancing and operating amidst the chaos. The other portion made a concerted effort to achieve quality rest once their broods expanded, in order to efficiently care for them.

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