News Release

May 3, 2005

Contact: Carolyn Pennington, 860-679-4864

What Do Mothers Want Most on Mother’s Day? More SLEEP!

New Survey finds Women are Less Likely than Men to get a Good Night’s Sleep

FARMINGTON, CONN. – Breakfast in bed is one way to treat mom this Mother’s Day, but many families may want to give an even greater indulgence: let mom sleep in on May 8, or let her take a nap to catch up on needed rest.

A National Sleep Foundation poll finds women are more likely than men to get less sleep than they need to function at their best (24 percent vs. 19 percent). As mothers, women may have added sleep disruptions because of their roles in the family.

“Many mothers have lifestyles that can make it hard to get a good night’s sleep,” says Daniel McNally, M.D., director of the Sleep Disorder Center at the University of Connecticut Health Center. “They are often the primary caregivers in the home and the first to wake up with infants to feed, or children or loved ones who may be sick.”

In fact, the NSF poll showed that one-half of parents and/or caregivers have their sleep disturbed an average of twice a week because a child awakens them during the night; these people are most likely to be women.

“More women are working outside the home than ever before, yet they often continue to be responsible for organizing meals, housework and homework. Being a mom can carry with it all sorts of stresses that lead to sleepless or restless nights,” says Dr. McNally.

According to the survey, women are also more likely than men to experience some symptom of insomnia: they have more trouble falling asleep (26 percent vs. 17 percent of men); are awake more often during the night (35 percent vs. 28 percent); and are more likely to wake up too early and not be able to get back to sleep (24 percent vs. 19 percent).

“Mothers need to pay attention to their sleep,” say Dr. McNally. “Too little sleep can affect the whole family and may negatively impact a mother’s health and quality of life. Sleep is a vital part of good health, and should be proactively addressed and managed, much like diet and exercise.

The National Sleep Foundation and Dr. McNally offer the following sleep tips for moms and other women:

  • Take a hot bath or soak in a hot tub before bedtime, or try meditation or yoga to relax.
  • Make sure your bedroom is dark, cool and quiet. Sixty-eight degrees is best.
  • Use your bedroom only for sleep and sex, and sleep on a comfortable mattress and pillow.
  • Try to have a relaxing bedtime routine and keep regular sleep times.
  • Exercise regularly. Exercise can relieve PMS symptoms and increase the amount of deep sleep.
  • Avoid caffeine and alcohol before bedtime. Both may disrupt sleep.

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