Sleep disorders in parents and children tied to parental stress

The rate of parental stress is greater among parents who have sleep disorders themselves, or have children with sleep disorders, according to a study published January 23 in the open-access journal PLOS ONE.

Sleep and stress disorders are known to have a two-way correlation, with stress promoting sleep disorders and sleep disorders promoting stress. Among parents, there is thought to be a complex interplay between their own sleep, stress, mood and fatigue and their children’s’ sleep.

To investigate further, the researchers analyzed data on 14,009 employees insured by Deseret Mutual Benefit Administrator in 2020, all of whom had dependent children. Overall, 2.2% of the employees filed medical claims for treating stress and 12.5% filed claims for treating a sleep disorder, including insomnia, hypersomnia or sleep apnea. In addition, 2.0% of children had one or more medical claims filed for a sleep disorder.

After adjusting for age, sex and marital status, rates of stress were 3 times greater among employees with insomnia and almost two-fold (1.88) greater for those with sleep apnea . In addition, the rate of employee stress was almost twice (1.90) as great if their child had any sleep disorder, and 2.89 times greater if their child had insomnia.

The study also found that if a child has a sleep disorder, the rate of parental insomnia and sleep apnea are both nearly doubled.

The authors conclude that a better understanding of the connections between parent and child sleep quality and parent stress may help improve treatment and lower the risk of these disorders.

To learn more, see the article by Merrill RM and Slavik KR, here

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