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Both men and women get better sleep in gender-equal countries

Women who live in more gender-equal countries do not only have better health, but they are also getting better sleep, according to a new study from the University of Melbourne. The research has revealed that the men are also getting better rest in countries that promote gender equality.

The investigation was focused on data from the European Social Survey. The experts measured sleep quality across 23 different European countries from the responses of 14,143 individuals.

Men and women reported different types of sleep disruptions. Women were more likely to lose sleep over the children waking up, while men more likely to lose sleep over worrying about finances.

Regardless, study co-author Leah Ruppanner explained that partners in more gender-equal countries such as Norway were found to have better sleep overall compared to men and women in countries with less equality such as the Ukraine.

“Sleep, like housework and child care, is another way women’s time is stretched, interrupted, and undervalued,” Ruppanner wrote in an article for Slate“Women have to advocate for their own right to sleep and other forms of self-care. And second, we have to acknowledge gender inequality is bad for men too.”

“Like child care, the financial pressures of work are detrimental to sleep. In countries with high gender equality, men aren’t carrying the burden alone. This means, when it comes to sleep, dismantling traditional gender norms is something men would benefit from nearly as much as women.”

The researchers emphasized that the study findings highlight the importance of promoting gender equality on a national level, and not just in the home.

“Men experience countless benefits from gender equality, reporting better physical health, greater happiness, and – as our study shows – better sleep,” said Ruppanner.

“Women in more gender-equal countries also report better health as well as more equal divisions of child care and housework with their partners. Doing unpaid domestic work often comes at the expense of free time and self-care, so this more equitable division of labor is critical to women’s sleep.”

The study is published in the Journal of Marriage and Family.

By Chrissy Sexton, Staff Writer

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