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According to a new study published in the PLOS ONE journal by Brigham Young University’s Ray Merrill and Kayla Slavik and colleagues, parenting stress is higher among parents with sleep disorders or children with sleep problems.

Stress disorders and sleep show a correlation

It is well established that there is a bidirectional relationship between stress disorders and sleep, with stress contributing to sleep disorders and vice versa. In addition, it is believed that there is a dynamic interaction between parents’ sleep, anxiety, stress, and weariness and that of their children.

Stress and sleep are correlated, and this cycle may harm someone’s well-being and quality of life. Sleep deprivation or disruption due to stress has been linked to increased perceived stress all day. Regular sleep disruptions can lead to extreme psychological and physical strain. Many mental diseases, including depression, have been linked in studies to sleep latency longer, difficulty staying asleep, and mornings wakeup.

The researchers examined data from 14,009 Deseret Mutual Benefit Administrator (DMBA) insured employees in 2020. The employees had dependent children. Generally, around 2.2% of the employees filed claims for stress treatment, with 12.5% filing medical claims for sleep disorder treatment, including sleep apnea, insomnia, or hyper insomnia. In addition, around 2% of children filed at least one medical claim for a sleep disorder.

Stress levels are reportedly higher in employees with a sleep disorder

Researchers established that stress rates were 1.95 times higher in employees with sleep disorders after adjusting for sex, marital status, and sex. Most importantly, stress rates were three times higher for individuals with insomnia and 1.88 times higher for individuals with sleep apnea. Additionally, the employee stress level is 1.9 times higher if they have a child with a sleep disorder. According to the study, parental sleep apnea and insomnia rates almost doubled if they had a child with a sleep disorder.

The authors concluded that there is a need for a better understanding of the relationship between child and parent sleep quality and parent stress to help lower the risk of the disorders and improve treatment.