Sleep Duration and Feeling Rested Are Differentially Associated With Having Children Among Men and Women

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Objective: To assess demographic predictors of short sleep duration and insufficient rest among adults.

Background: Insufficient sleep or rest are risk factors for cognitive impairment, reduced quality of life, mood disorders, and impaired ability to fight infection.

Design/Methods: A cross-sectional examination was conducted using data from the 2012 Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS), a nation-wide telephone-administered survey. Outcomes included sleep time as a continuous variable (total sleep hours/day) and categorized as optimum (7–9 hours/day) or insufficient (<6 hours per day) and the number of days participants felt unrested in the past month. BMI, age, race, education, marital status, exercise, number of children in the household, employment status, income and snoring were examined as predictors. Linear and logistic regression analyses included survey weighting procedures, adjusted for all predictors, and were stratified by sex.

Results: Among men (N=2,897), longer sleep duration was associated with higher education (p=0.0002) and snoring (p=0.02); among women (N=2,908), having children was inversely associated with sleep duration (p=0.002), while being unemployed (p=0.009) and having a higher household income (p=0.03) were associated with longer duration. Among participants aged ≤45 years, men with less than a high school education were more likely to report insufficient sleep compared to college graduates (OR=10.00, 95% CI=1.87, 53.42) and snoring was inversely associated with insufficient sleep (OR=0.31, 95% CI=0.11, 0.87). Among women aged ≤45 years, the only variable associated with insufficient sleep was having children in the household, with each child increasing the odds by nearly 50% (OR=1.46, 95% CI=1.14, 1.87). Children in the household were also associated with the frequency of feeling unrested among younger women (β= 1.76 ± 0.54, p=0.001), but not among younger men (β= 1.06 ± 0.64 (SE), p=0.10).

Conclusions: Predictors of insufficient sleep and feeling unrested differed by sex, with children adversely impacting women, particularly those of childbearing age.