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Single parents have worst odds for a good night's sleep

Adults not living with children have the lowest rate of sleep deprivation.
By Stephen Feller   |   Jan. 7, 2016 at 2:47 PM

ATLANTA, Jan. 7 (UPI) -- Single parents, especially single mothers, were found to be the most sleep-deprived people in the United States, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The CDC report found single parents were the most likely to report sleeping less than seven hours a night, and have worse quality of sleep, more insomnia symptoms, and are more likely to use sleep medication.

The agency said getting sufficient sleep is a national health objective, and key to maintaining other parts of health. Studies at Upsalla University and at the University of Copenhagen in 2015 found a lack of sleep could increase the risk for a range of health conditions, from diabetes to cancer.

Some lack of sleep among these groups is ascribed to stress and lifestyle, leading researchers to suggest single parents are more stressed. Part of the increase in sleep deprivation among single parents is ascribed to an increase in single-parent families in recent decades, representing about 32 percent of families with children under age 18 living in the house.

The researchers analyzed data collected on parents across the country as part of the National Health Interview Survey, finding 43.5 percent of single mothers and 37.5 percent of single fathers living with children under age 18 got less than seven hours of sleep in a 24-hour period, as compared to 31.2 percent of adults in two-parent families and 29.7 percent of adults living without children getting less than seven hours of sleep.

Among two-parent families, 31.2 percent of women and 34.1 percent of men report sleeping less than seven hours. Among adults without children 32.3 percent of men and 29.7 percent of women sleep less than seven hours.

"Research has shown that single parents have fewer financial resources," researchers wrote in the report, which is published on the CDC's website, "and this report finds that sleep is another domain in which single-parent families are disadvantaged."

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