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New Study Says Single Moms Struggle to Sleep

Single moms operate on fewer hours of sleep and have poorer sleep quality than adults in other types of families according to the most recent study by the U.S. National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS).

In a first time study of adult sleep habits by their family types, the U.S. government reported that single moms with children under 18 slept fewer hours, had trouble falling asleep and typically wake up feeling tired, US News reports.

The study also reported that single moms were more likely than single dads (43.5 percent versus 37.5 percent) to sleep fewer than seven hours a day and three in 10 single moms had problems staying asleep, compared with two in 10 single dads.

"Women tend to make family, and especially their children, a priority in life — day and night, 24/7," noted Kathryn Lee, a sleep researcher at the University of California San Francisco.

The stress of being a single parent while juggling work and family also affects the mental and physical health of single moms, said Dr. Shelby Harris, director of Behavioral Sleep Medicine at the Sleep-Wake Disorders Center at Montefiore Health System in New York City.

"Women's sleep difficulties may also be partly due to hormonal fluctuations and higher rates of anxiety, stress and depression," Harris told US News. "And once they're able to get to bed, they often can't turn their brains off since they are thinking — or even worrying — about everything that needs to get done the next day."

Poor sleep habits are often associated with chronic illnesses such as diabetes and heart disease, as well as mental health issues like depression.

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