Washington D.C. : While sleep and exercise are vital to the well being of a new parent, a recent study suggests that the activities affect new moms differently than new dads.
As part of the study, researchers looked at the daily lives of new parents and they found that, in general, adding physical activity and more sleep to their day lead to better personal well-being, a better couple relationship and more closeness with their baby.
However, fathers who slept more on average than other fathers reported lower overall well-being and less closeness with their partner and child. In contrast, mothers who slept more on average than other mothers reported greater well-being.
Additionally, the researchers found that on days when fathers exercised more than usual, there was a lower likelihood of an argument between the couple. But, on days when mothers exercised more than usual, there was a higher chance of an argument.
The team of researchers suggested that these differences may be due to mothers often being seen as the primary caretaker.
“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. 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,” said Mark Feinberg, lead researcher of the study.