We all know parents go through many restless nights when dealing with their newborn babies. And there is finally research that backs this up.
A new study found that these sleepless nights will last up to 6 years for many parents. The new study done by Oxford University looked at data from more than 2,500 women and 2,100 men in Germany.
They reported on their sleep patterns after the birth of their first, second or third child. It found moms were losing at least one of an hour of sleep a night and dads about 15 minutes.
I talked to a pediatrician who told me that because women consistently worry more (maternal stress) is why they tend to lose more sleep than men. He added that the study also saw that breastfeeding contributed to a lack of sleep as well.
Mother of two, Avery Henke, “When you are going to see a doctor and they ask you if are tired. You really don’t know because you’re a mom so you’re running on no sleep.”
Henke like other parents know firsthand the struggles of not getting any sleep while raising a child.
The Oxford study found that even 6 years after birth, moms still slept 20 minutes less and dads slept 15 minutes less than before the baby arrived.
Pediatrician at Independent Doctors, Dr. Stephan McDonough, “We see as pediatricians very commonly exhausted parents and we will try and analyze what’s going on and give suggestions to cope with their lack of sleep.”
The study also found that the number one reason parents aren’t getting enough sleep is because their kids aren’t either.
“It’s often not that parents aren’t having difficulty falling asleep, it’s more difficulty staying asleep because your baby is waking you up,” says McDonough.
The study says each additional child you have increased the odds of insufficient sleep by 50%. Henke who has 2 children told me that makes complete sense.
“By the time we had our second child, I kind of had one child trained already so she was sleeping through the night so I was finally just starting over with that baby stage from waking up constantly. There was no difference really. And then they start getting older and then both children are up and you lose way more sleep,” says Henke.
I asked Henke if she thinks she will get any sleep even after the 6-year mark?
“I don’t even know if I would wait to the 6-year mark to breathe again and say I would get sleep because there are new troubles and other things you start to worry about. Then they start school and then you worry about that and it’s nervewracking, so I don’t know if I will sleep any better once they are older or not.”
Dr. McDonough suggests to nap when you can, exercise, and most importantly try and prioritize.