Any groggy-eyed new parent would welcome a midday nap, but as it turns out the need for extra sleep doesn’t leave parents once babies are out of diapers. A new sleep study finds that parents aren’t getting adequate sleep well into raising a new baby, for a full six years in fact!
HealthDay reports about the new study out from the University of Warwick in England that suggests parents have to wait a full six years after having kids before they can expect better sleep. Now, before you go scaring new parents with this terrifying information - it’s important to note that over time sleep may not be perfect, but it does get better for parents as babies start to sleep through the night.
On average a new parent of a baby age 3 months or younger sees a sharp decline in sleep satisfaction and duration (well, yeah!). The study finds that moms especially lose a full hour of sleep a night in those firist few months.
And though sleep patterns get better as babies get older, sleep disruption stays with parents until their kids reach 6. This type of sleep disruption can have everything to do with kids being sick, having nightmares, or just the every day racing thoughts of a parent with a busy to-do list. Study author Sakari Lemola explains, “Even if children don't wake up the parents directly, it is possible that parents have more things to worry about, to plan and to organize compared to before the first child, which may curtail their sleep.”
According to the study, parents of young kids are only losing about 15 to 20 minutes of sleep per night. But this type of regular disruptive sleep can make it harder for parents to function throughout the week. Lemola advises parents to try and schedule in a quick nap time each day or take turns with your partner when caring for a kid at night who needs water, had a nightmare, is feeling ill, or needs a 2am monster extermination.
What do you think of the new study that suggests parents’s sleep is disrupted for a full 6 years after having kids?
Do you feel like you’re not getting quality sleep even though your kids are out of diapers?