Both men and women sleep better in countries that promote gender equality

September 11, 2018  19:30

The benefits of gender equality extend far beyond the workplace – it could even help you get a better night's sleep.

According to a new study, people who live in countries that rank higher in gender equality tend to report more restful sleep than those where women have less economic and political power.

The effect could be seen in both men and women, suggesting the more balanced division of domestic tasks and financial burden pays off across the sexes, the DailyMail reports.

In the new study led by a team from the universities of Cincinnati and Melbourne, researchers used data from the European Social Survey to measure sleep quality as it varies in different countries, with a total sample of 14,143 partnered individuals from 23 countries in Europe.

While men and women still reported different types of sleep disruptions, with women more likely to be disturbed by children and men more likely to be kept awake worrying about finances, those in more gender-equal countries such as Norway had better sleep overall, co-author Leah Ruppanner explains in an article for Slate.

In Ukraine and other countries that ranked lower on the equality scale, men and women aren't getting as much sleep.

The findings suggest a country's efforts to empower women has positive effects on the individual level – for both men and women.

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

'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.'

In the study published to the Journal of Marriage and Family, the researchers say the findings highlight the importance of promoting gender equality on a national level – not just in the household.

The effects then trickle down into day-to-day life.

'Sleep, like housework and child care, is another way women's time is stretched, interrupted, and undervalued,' Ruppanner wrote.

'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.'

 

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