If it feels like you spend most of your life as a parent telling your kids to go the f*@k to sleep, it's because you really do! Bedtime can be one of the most stressful times of the day for any parent. No matter how tired kids are, they seem to have this sudden burst of energy that kicks in approximately 30 seconds before they're supposed to go to sleep. It can be even more difficult during those first few years when babies are waking for feedings or have colic or are just generally fussy.
While every parent knows that sleep deprivation with kids is real, a new survey conducted by Sleep Junkie showing just how real it is during that first year of parenting. The survey asked 500 UK and 500 US parents what a typical day looks like for them, and concluded that new parents lose around 5 hours and 25 minutes a day trying to get their child to sleep! Parents tried everything from feeding their child to walking or driving with their child to reading to their child to try to get them to fall asleep.
While over five hours a day certainly sounds like a lot, that number translates into the equivalent of 82 days a year just trying to get your child to sleep! That's a huge number. The survey also found that not only are new parents missing out on much-needed sleep, but they are also lacking any quality me-time after having a newborn. Parents noted that they were only spending about 4 hours a day on themselves, ranging from socializing (1 hr 07 mins), to self-care (1 hr 18 mins), and leisure time (1 hr 35 mins).
Meg Riley, the editor at Sleep Junkie, had some advice for new parents who are finding themselves struggling to get enough sleep. "Try and sleep when your baby sleeps – although they may wake frequently in the night, newborn babies cram in lots of sleep during the day so you should aim to sleep when they do," she said.
"You should also make sure you share out the wake-up calls through the night so it’s not just one parent getting up every time – if bottle feeding, take the duties in turn. Also, keeping your baby active and alert throughout the day can create a calmer atmosphere for both you and the baby at night and allow for a better night sleep for all. And finally, just remember – this stage doesn’t last forever and the older baby gets, the longer they will sleep!”
The site also suggests taking as much help as is offered. New parents often struggle with wanting to do everything themselves and new parent burn-out. There's no shame in letting someone come and help around the house, provide some meals and share in the childcare load. It really does take a village so if you have one you should definitely use it.