Parents naturally hope and pray that their children mature into thriving adults. It’s a concern that one would think would be quelled by time and age, but it’s not. Despite what many children and new parents believe, a parent’s worry never ceases to exist. From learning they’re pregnant until they pass away, a mom and dad will fret over the safety, grades, career, relationships, health, offspring, and every other big and small moment of their child’s life. And, much of it will cause many sleepless nights for the parent.

A study conducted by Pennsylvania State University’s Amber J. Seidel recently confirmed that parents never stop worrying over their adult children, and they’ll lose countless hours of sleep doing so. The study surveyed almost 200 heterosexual married couples. All had adult children. They were asked to measure the types of assistance and interaction they offered their adult children on a scale of one through eight, with eight being once a year and one being daily assistance and interaction.

Categories included emotional, financial, and basic communications like a telephone call. They were then instructed to record their nightly sleep and to use a one through five ranking for their stress levels, with one being no stress and five being the highest stress level possible. The results were that dads get an average of 6.69 hours, and moms have a little less with 6.66. Seidel compared the numbers to see if there was a correlation or pattern in regard to lack of sleep, assistance offered to adult children, and stress levels. According to the study, lack of sleep and rising stress levels only affected the dads when they were the ones directly assisting their adult children. They were unaffected when it was the mom offering the assistance. The theory here is that dads aren’t affected in the same way as moms due to wives commonly not sharing the details or even occasion of offering assistance to their grown children. In the dark from both need and response, the dad is generally more free to enjoy a greater number of worry-free, stress-free days.

Of course, our modern technology-enabled world allows parents and children to connect easier than ever before. Between mobile calls and texts, video calls, and social media alone, even adult children and parents living continents away can maintain a strong personal connection. The flip side is that this also leaves the parents very attuned to what’s going on in their child’s life; for example, an off kilter social media post or unusual appearance or tone of voice during a video or chat immediately sends a red flag to the parent that their child may be going through a hard time and need assistance, even if the child doesn’t directly voice it to the parent. So, it’s no wonder that parents today worry more than ever over their adult children. As parents, it may be time to take a step back from parental assistance mode and start remembering that lack of sleep and stress gets more and more detrimental and hard to handle with age. As children, don’t forget that adult is now in front of child and that undue stress and worry can shorten the lives of your beloved parents.