Daily associations between sleep and stressors in nurses with and without children

Taylor P. Harris, Taylor F.D. Vigoureux, Soomi Lee

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Previous research shows that adults with children have poorer sleep overall than adults without children. Poorer sleep is associated with experiencing more frequent and severe stressors. The daily link between sleep and stressors may differ by parenting status; yet this potential difference has not been addressed, especially in nurses who provide care both at work and home. This study examined whether the sleep–stress relationship is stronger for nurses with children than those without. During 14 days of ecological momentary assessment, 60 hospital nurses (24 parents) reported their previous night's sleep characteristics upon waking. Three times daily, they also reported whether they encountered any stressors and how severe those stressors were. Associations were assessed at the within- and between-person levels with parenting status as a between-person moderator. After controlling for covariates, previous night's poorer sleep quality, lower sleep sufficiency, and shorter time in bed were associated with perceiving more frequent or severe stressors the following day. Some of these daily associations were moderated by parenting status, such that the sleep–stressor link was only significant for parents, with the magnitude of association being stronger for those with 2+ children relative to 1 child. These findings suggest that nurses with children are at greater risk for a stronger linkage between poorer sleep and greater stressor frequency and severity. A stronger sleep–stressor relationship could have compounding effects on health. Improving sleep in this group may be critical to reduce their stress and improve the quality of care across work and home.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere13505
JournalJournal of Sleep Research
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jun 2022

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Cognitive Neuroscience
  • Behavioral Neuroscience

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