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U.S. moms sleeping fewer hours than dads

ANN ARBOR, Mich., Nov. 18 (UPI) -- There are substantial gender differences in parental sleep, with fathers typically getting more sleep than mothers, a University of Michigan researcher says.

Sarah Burgard says a nationally representative sample indicates men and women both get up at night -- mainly with babies and small children -- but there are gender differences in total sleep.

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Not only are women more likely to get up at night to care for others, says Burgard, but their sleep interruptions last longer -- an average of 44 minutes versus about 30 minutes for men.

The study, scheduled to be published in Social Forces, finds in dual-career couples with a child under age 1, 32 percent of women reported sleep interruptions to take care of the baby, compared with 11 percent of men.

"What is really surprising is that gender differences in nighttime caregiving remain even after adjusting for the employment status, income and education levels of each parent," Burgard says in a statement. "Among parents of infants who are the sole breadwinner in a couple, for example, 28 percent of women who are the sole breadwinner report getting up at night to take care of their children, compared to just 4 percent of men who are the only earner in the couple."

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