Sleep And Exercise Affect New Moms Differently Than New Dads

mom and dad baby

Here’s more evidence that proves men and women truly are different in more ways than one. New research claims that sleep and exercise affect new mothers differently than new fathers. Researchers found that getting more physical activity and sleep was linked to a happier life. However, fathers who got more sleep were more likely to be less satisfied with their home lives and over-all well-being. Also, women who exercised more were more likely to start an argument with their partners.

According to Science Daily, a team of researchers from Penn State University looked at data collected from moms and dads and their daily activity level. While sleep and exercise are vital to maintaining good health, it had a different effect on new moms compared to new dads. The findings were published in the journal, Monographs of the Society for Research In Child Development.

While getting enough sleep at night and regular exercise was linked to happier relationships, home life, and overall satisfaction, it did impact men differently than women. Moms who slept more than their male partners reported greater well-being. Those fathers who got more shut-eye at night reported less closeness with their spouse and their children.

Men who exercised regularly were less likely to argue with their partners at home. However, women who regularly hit the gym several times a week were more likely to start a heated argument with their spouse. Mark Feinberg, research professor in the Edna Bennett Pierce Prevention Research Center at Penn State, said that one of the reasons for this is because mothers are often seen as the primary caretaker. And because moms usually juggle many things at once, they are more likely to voice or show their frustrations, especially when they are feeling highly-energized.

"Fathers may resist or feel resentful when mothers spend more time than usual on their own needs such as exercise, leaving fathers to pick up more responsibility for childcare -- leading to arguments," Feinberg said in his research. "But, it's also possible that the extra time spent with the child is stressful for fathers, leading fathers to be more irritable on such days and leading to more arguments with the partner."

While early parenthood is stressful for both moms and dads, in general, new parents, report higher levels of stress, depression and couple conflict. This results in less sleep, companionship with their partners and even romance. However, by recording their daily activity and sleep patterns, many partners can help reverse some of the effects of sleep and physical activities to help benefit their family lives.

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