The benefits of gender equality are more far-reaching than you may realize. A new study aimed to learn more about how gender norms impact sleep. The report included data from 23 European countries. In 22 of those countries, women were more likely than men to report sleep problems, like restlessness, during the week before the study began. Quartz recently reported on this study along with several others that explore the relationship between gender and sleep. Here are three big takeaways from the article.
1. “Women are more likely to have their sleep disrupted by children and family obligations”
Not only are mothers more likely to have to comfort young children during the night, but they also lose more sleep worrying about their older children’s well-being. “Generally, men view sleep as a way to recover and prepare for work, while female caregivers view the night as an extension of their daytime obligations to family members,” Leah Ruppanner and David Maume explain in Quartz.
2. “A study of working class American couples showed men who report problems getting or staying asleep at night were concerned about the next day’s work and how their pay affected the family finances.”
While a number of women surveyed seemed to credit sleep issues to familial responsibilities, men reported losing sleep because of financial worries and stress at work. Rappanner and Maume noted that these stressors don’t only impact men, saying, “full-time workers who felt upset or bothered at work also reported poorer sleep, as did workers with less control and more demands at work, regardless of gender”.
3. “Women in gender-equal societies have more equal divisions of housework, and men take a more active role in childcare. Living in a broader context of equality translates into more restful sleep for women…And, as our study showed, men slept better, too.”
According to The Journal of Marriage and Family study, people reported sleeping better in countries with higher levels of gender equality. “Since sleep is an integral dimension to health and wellbeing, the economic, health and social benefit to being well-rested cannot be understated,” Ruppanner and Maume say.