Parents' Sleep May Suffer for 6 Years After Baby Arrives

If you just welcomed a little one, you can look forward to the year 2025
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 26, 2019 12:38 PM CST
Melatonin, anyone?   (Getty Images/Marcos Calvo)

(Newser) – Being able to say, "The baby is finally sleeping through the night" may offer a mental boost, but that doesn't mean you're necessarily going to be getting a lot more shut-eye anytime soon. In fact, don't count on it for at least six years, the Telegraph reports, based on a new study out of the University of Warwick that found parents were still somewhat sleep-deprived a half-dozen years after their bundle of joy showed up. The study, published in the journal Sleep, pored over the sleep patterns from 2008 to 2015 of more than 4,600 parents who'd welcomed a new baby. Not surprisingly, the first three months are the worst, sucking an average of an hour a night away from a new mom's sleep, while new dads lost an average of 15 minutes, per a release.

But when the little ones got to the ages of between 4 and 6, researchers found the parents were still sleeping less than they did before they'd conceived: 20 minutes less per night, on average, for the mothers, and (still) 15 minutes less for dads. Sleep deprivation took a stronger hold on first-time parents than on those who'd done this routine before. Study co-author Sakari Lemola offers a theory on why Mr. Sandman still seems to elude parents of preschoolers: "While having children is a major source of joy for most parents, it is possible that increased demands and responsibilities associated with the role as a parent lead to shorter sleep and decreased sleep quality," even long after the crib has been stored in the garage. (Too little snoozing can be akin to too much boozing.)

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