Sleep Disorders in Parents and Children Associated With More Parental Stress

Summary: Parental stress is higher in parents who suffer from sleep disorders or have children with disordered sleeping.

Source: PLOS

The rate of parental stress is greater among parents who have sleep disorders themselves, or have children with sleep disorders, according to a new study published this week in the open-access journal PLOS ONE by Ray Merrill and Kayla Slavik of Brigham Young University, U.S., and colleagues.

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.

In the new work, the researchers analyzed data on 14,009 employees insured by Deseret Mutual Benefit Administrator (DMBA) 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. 2.0% of children filed one or more medical claims for a sleep disorder.

The researchers found that, after adjusting for age, sex and marital status, rates of stress are 1.95 (95% CI 1.67–2.28) times greater in employees with a sleep disorder. Specifically, rates of stress are 3.00 (95% CI 2.33–4.85) times greater for those with insomnia and 1.88 (1.59–2.22) times greater for those with sleep apnea.

This shows an alarm clock
Among parents, there is thought to be a complex interplay between their own sleep, stress, mood and fatigue and their children’s’ sleep. Image is in the public domain

In addition, the rate of employee stress is 1.90 (95% CI 1.33–2.72) times greater if their child has any sleep disorder, and 2.89 (95% CI 2.20–3.80) times greater if their child has 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.

About this sleep and stress research news

Author: Press Office
Source: PLOS
Contact: Press Office – PLOS
Image: The image is in the public domain

Original Research: Open access.
Relating parental stress with sleep disorders in parents and children” by Ray Merrill et al. PLOS ONE


Abstract

Relating parental stress with sleep disorders in parents and children

Objective

To assess whether child sleep disorders positively correlate with parental insomnia, hypersomnia, and sleep apnea, and whether parental and child sleep disorders simultaneously positively associate with parental stress. Potential modifying influences of these associations by age, sex, and marital status will be considered.

Methods

Analyses are based on 14,009 employees aged 18–64 with dependent children (n = 44,157) insured by Deseret Mutual Benefit Administrator (DMBA) in 2020. Rate ratios are adjusted for age, sex, and marital status.

Results

The rate of parental stress is 3.00 (95% CI 2.33–4.85) times greater for those with insomnia and 1.88 (95% CI 1.59–2.22) times greater for those with sleep apnea. There is no increased risk of stress for those with hypersomnia. The number of dependent children filing one or more medical claims for a sleep disorder is 2.0%. Mean age is significantly older among those with a sleep disorder (17.1 vs. 14.4, t p < .0001). Child sex is not associated with the risk of having a sleep disorder. The rate of employee insomnia is 111% greater if their child has a sleep disorder, and employee sleep apnea is 115% greater if their child has a sleep disorder. The association between child sleep disorders and sleep apnea decreases with employee age (Wald chi-square p = 0.0410). The rate of employee stress is 90% greater if their child has a sleep disorder, 189% greater if they have insomnia, and 81% greater if they have sleep apnea. The strength of the association between insomnia and stress is greater for women (Wald Chi-square p = 0.0114), between sleep apnea and stress is greater for women (Wald chi-square p = 0.0010), and between sleep apnea and stress is greater for singles (Wald chi-square p = 0.0010).

Conclusions

Better understanding the connection between parent and child sleep problems and parent stress, and modifying influences, may improve treatment of these disorders.

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