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|Doing Gender Overnight? Parenthood, Gender and Sleep Quantity and Quality in Australia
|The importance of sleep cannot be underestimated, as sleep affects domains such as physical and mental health, work-related productivity, and longevity. Yet, we know surprisingly little about the social determinants of sleep in contemporary Australia. International evidence suggests that parenthood and gender are important factors influencing individuals' sleep quantity and quality, with parents sleeping less and worse than non-parents and mothers sleeping less and worse than fathers. We provide first-time evidence of these patterns in the Australian context using data from the 2013 wave of the Household, Income and Labour Dynamics in Australia Survey and multivariate regression models. Our findings are consistent with those from previous US and UK research, and indicate that sleep quantity and sleep quality are greater amongst (i) childless individuals than parents, (ii) parents of young children (ages 2 to 4) than parents of very young children (ages 0 and 1), and (iii) fathers than mothers. We take these results as evidence of gender-unequal sleep arrangements in Australian family households, whereby women take primary responsibility for the overnight care of children. Programs aimed at reducing the sleep debt experienced by parents, particularly mothers, are needed to reduce sleep inequalities that may compound with inequalities in other life domains.
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checked on Feb 29, 2024
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