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Sleep Health Journal Article Highlights Association between Sleep and Life Satisfaction in Parents

For Immediate Release
Contact: Stephanie Kohn


Sleep Health Journal Article Highlights Association between Sleep and Life Satisfaction in Parents


Washington, D.C. (September 21, 2022): New research findings published in the National Sleep Foundation’s (NSF) Sleep Health Journal show that, for new and established parents, getting sufficient sleep plays an important role in their mental health and, in turn, life satisfaction.

The Influence of Sleep and Movement Factors on Mental Health and Life Satisfaction During the Transition to Parenthood (Divine, Blanchard, Benoit, Symons Downs, and Rhodes) analyzed sleep, physical activity, mental health, and life satisfaction in couples.

Findings indicated meeting sleep guidelines was associated with better mental health and, in turn, life satisfaction of parents of newborns. Additionally, positive mental health changes were observed in women, especially for first-time mothers, but no changes seen for men regardless of parental status.

“The study showed that physical activity had a negligible impact on mental health of parents. However, getting the recommended sleep hours was associated with better mental health for parents. Although it varied, most parents were below recommended sleep hours by approximately 1 hour. Small improvements in sleep hours could have significant impact for parents’ mental health. This indicates that an intervention prioritizing sleep health education for new parents could make a more positive impact on their quality of life,” said senior author, Alison Divine, PhD, a lecturer at the University of Leeds.

“Given the well-known decreases in physical activity for most couples with the transition to parenthood and our findings in this study that most parents were not meeting the recommended sleep hours, targeted approaches that adapt intervention dosages to the changing physical activity and sleep needs of couples throughout the perinatal and postpartum periods may be a useful intervention strategy to improve, and ideally sustain, long-term mental health in parents,” said author Danielle Symons Downs, PhD, professor at Penn State University.

Findings in this article complement the National Sleep Foundation’s recommendations to be your Best Slept Self™. The National Sleep Foundation recommends most adults get 7-9 hours of sleep a night to feel refreshed each day. “Getting 7-9 hours of sleep a night isn’t always possible for new parents, but there are other sleep tips you can use to help you get the sleep you need. NSF recommends avoiding eating large meals and drinking caffeine close to bed time so your body knows it’s time to wind down and prepare for sleep,” said NSF Board Chair, Temitayo Oyegbile-Chidi, MD, PhD.

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About the National Sleep Foundation

The National Sleep Foundation (NSF) is a 501(c)3 nonprofit corporation dedicated to improving health and well- being through sleep education and advocacy. Founded in 1990, the NSF is committed to advancing excellence in sleep health theory, research and practice.