Inspired living

How sleep deprivation affects parenting

african american young woman sleeping on sofa


You know you can’t function without sleep. Even one night of sleep deprivation can make you groggy, grumpy and unable to function at your best — whether at home or at work.

Mothers of young children know what it’s like to have short and disrupted sleep and how it affects their daily functioning.

But how does sleep deprivation affect their parenting style?

To answer this question, researchers from the University of Illinois looked at the link between maternal sleep and permissive parenting during late adolescence.

The study also looked at the extent to which the association differed by mothers’ race and ethnicity and by their socioeconomic status.

Utilising a multi-method design for this study, researchers measured sleep duration and sleep quality of 234 mothers with an average age of 41 years. The sample consisted of 31 per cent African-American, 67 per cent European-American and 2 per cent other race/ethnicities.

The study also included 237 adolescents comprising of 113 boys and 124 girls with and average age of 15 years.

While the mothers reported on their sleep problems the adolescents reported on their mother’s permissive parenting behaviour.

The researchers found that mothers who had less sleep and poor-quality sleep showed higher levels of permissive parenting.

It could be that they were over-tired from alack of sleep, which impaired their attention, making them less consistent and lax in their parenting.

The results also showed that mothers who had longer sleep duration and better sleep quality showed lower levels of permissive parenting towards their children.

Race/ethnicity and socioeconomic status also emerged as a significant factor linking sleep and permissive parenting.

The researchers found that African-American mothers and mothers from low socioeconomic households who experienced poorer quality of sleep had higher levels of permissive parenting.

But for the same groups, when they experienced good quality sleep, they had lower levels of permissive parenting.

This study highlights the importance of sleep as has been done by so many other studies.

Parents worry about their children getting proper sleep, but it’s important for them to take care of themselves and get enough sleep.

Otherwise it can affect their family relationships and the wellbeing of their children.

Source: Journal of Sleep Research


Meena Azzollini

Meena is passionate about holistic wellbeing, alternative healing, health and personal power and uses words to craft engaging feature articles to convey her knowledge and passion. She is a freelance writer and content creator from Adelaide, Australia, who draws inspiration from family, travel and her love for books and reading.

A yoga practitioner and a strong believer in positive thinking, Meena is also a mum to a very active young boy. In her spare time, she loves to read and whip up delicious meals. She also loves the smell of freshly made coffee and can’t ever resist a cheesecake. And she gets tickled pink by anything funny!