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Women Have More Disturbed Sleep

By Rick Nauert PhD Senior News Editor
Reviewed by John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on August 11, 2009

Source: University of Cincinnati

As gender equality spreads throughout the workforce women are discovering their responsibilities at home remain the same. According to a new study, the dual challenges could be a reason why women report more sleep disruption than men.

The research led by David Maume, a University of Cincinnati professor of sociology was presented at the annual meeting of the American Sociological Association (ASA) in San Francisco. Health researchers have traditionally dominated the field of sleep research, examining biological differences and their effects on sleep patterns. The University of Cincinnati study delved into the social issues of how work and family obligations could trigger tossing and turning when it came to a good night’s sleep.

“Drawing on scholarship on gender inequality on time use, we contend that sleep is an activity that is affected by gender inequality in waking role obligations,” write the authors.

The UC researchers conducted a phone survey of 583 union workers represented by a Midwestern chapter of the United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW). The phone survey took place between January and April of 2007. Sixty-two percent of the respondents were women (…) The researchers found that gender differences in health status accounted for a substantial portion (27 percent) of the gender gap in sleep disruption, with women more likely to report health effects on sleep disruption. (…) Women were also more likely to report conflicts in balancing the demands of their work schedules with finding the time, energy and enthusiasm to meet family responsibilities accounting for 17 percent of the gender gap in sleep disruption, with parental status accounting for an additional five percent of the gender gap in sleep disruption.

The sociologists conclude that sleep differences should continue to be examined in terms of gender inequality in contemporary society.

Source: University of Cincinnati 

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