February 26, 2019
They say the nine months of pregnancy just simply isn’t enough time to prepare for parenthood.
One of the biggest adjustments for new parents is the change in their sleep patterns, and a new study set out to quantify just how much slumber is lost.
Per the self-reported study, published in the journal Sleep, mothers reported losing the most winks, over an hour less sleep nightly in the first three months of having their first bundle of joy. That number dropped to about 40 minutes nightly in the first year. Mom who opted to breastfeed their babies saw a slightly larger decrease in sleep satisfaction, according to researchers.
The study found that fathers also lost out on sleep, albeit generally less than mothers. Dads said they lost about 13 minutes nightly in the first three months after childbirth.
Researchers followed almost 4,659 women and men they raised their child, while collecting data on their sleeping patterns during and after pregnancy, the study explains, and accounted for factors like age and income. The study's results determined that parents will suffer from disrupted sleeping, on average, for up to six years after the birth of their first child.
"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 up to six years after birth of the first child," author Sakari Lemola of the University of Warwick said in a statement.