A lot of parents would agree that they don’t need scientific research to prove just how tired they are. In fact, there isn’t a day that goes by that many moms and dads don’t grumble about their lack of sleep, especially if they have small children at home. Well now a new study has calculated just how much sleep parents do lose during the first several years of a child’s life and the results are pretty astonishing.
According to The Guardian, parents lose up to six years of sleep with statistical data proving that the sleep deprivation is at its worst during the first three months of a baby’s life. A study published in a journal aptly named Sleep finds that the lack of sleep hits moms the hardest, who lost about 40 minutes of sleep a night in the first year of parenthood. In comparison, fathers only lost 13 minutes of sleep each night.
A team of researchers collected data from adults who were asked to rate their sleep quality on a scale from 0 to 10. Over 2,500 women and 2,200 men responded by saying that their sleep quality dropped about 1.7 points with each additional child they welcomed into their families in the course of six years. And while many parents did eventually catch up on their sleep, the study found that they’ve already lost a total of six years worth of sleep four to six years after their first child’s birth.
While there aren’t many things that parents can do to avoid the sleep deprivation, there are several ways that they can make things a little easier on them. If both mom and dad are able and willing to, tag-team parenting can allow one parent to get a full night of rest while the other is on the clock with their baby every few hours. For those who have trusted family members and friends who live nearby, recruit them to help with the sleepless nights, too.
Otherwise, remember that things do eventually get better and within time, parents will get to enjoy a full night of rest once their children are better sleep trained or they grow out their baby stage.