Men, Women and Sleep


let me tell you a little bit about what we
found in the study we use data from the nationally representative
two thousand three to two thousand seven american time use data and we showed that working moms
were about twice as likely or more than twice as likely to get up for the night shift of
caregiving for dependent children in the household are working fathers were and this was based on a very large sample of about twenty
thousand americans in contemporary families here what was interesting about this finding
was that this was after taking account differences between men and women in their age in how many hours a week that
they’re working for pay in whether they had a partner or a spouse to help with the family
load and whether they were kids around other people
who might need care in the household the way that we collected these data was to
ask people to tell us everything they did for a single twenty four-hour period and they
were asked to provide when they started the activity and when they finished it so based on the
information in these diaries days people who had an infant in the household and we are dual
career couples so they were they had a partner and both partners worked should very large
differences by gender and we found that about one in three of these mothers in dual income
couples were getting up to provide care compared to only about one in ten of these fathers even
among parents of infants who are sole breadwinner in a couple twenty eight percent of
women reported getting up at night to take care of their child compared to just four
percent of men who were the only earner in the couple most people on the street that
you ask would tell you know that’s not surprising to me at all, that most women are more likely to get up than men
but what surprised us was that even among people that had the same sets of career ambitions
and that were working long hours and so on we’re still seeing these big gender differences
that we argue are part of social expectations
taking on the lion share of nighttime caregiving responsibilities if
it’s solely women who are doing this or for the most part women who are doing this this is important for two main reasons one
is that sleep has been and increasing numbers of studies in the medical literature and elsewhere
linked very strongly to health and well-being outcomes it has also been strongly linked
to accidents either traffic accidents or accidents at work the second reason why this
is so important is because it could have very important ramifications for people’s
careers and so if women are taking on the burden of this during the childbearing years
that could have unintended consequences for people’s career trajectories and as we know
who most young people most middle-aged people in the united states today regardless of gender
are planning to have a serious paid work career so that’s kind of an measured motherhood
penalty that we are finding in these data

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