Parents are losing a shocking amount of sleep in their child's first year

Are parents on the verge of a sleep crisis? [Photo: Getty]
Are parents on the verge of a sleep crisis? [Photo: Getty]

Ask any new mum or dad what their biggest struggle has been since becoming parents and you can bet a Baby Bjorn they’ll say sleep.

In fact, the amount of snooze time babies steal from their parents within the first year is really quite astonishing.

A new survey by Owlet Baby Care has found that parents are missing out on a whopping month’s worth of sleep in the first year after welcoming their newborn.

Sleep-deprived parents lose out on two hours and 15 minutes worth of shuteye every single night – almost a third of the total sleep they had before the baby arrived.

READ MORE: Rocking like a baby could help adults sleep more soundly

Hardly surprising therefore that seven in 10 say their sleep is worse since their little one’s arrival.

But while many of us try to make light of the new sleep-less normal, the lack of ZZZs are having some pretty serious effects, impacting everything from work to relationships.

Almost a quarter of dads (22%) say that lack of sleep has led them to fall asleep at work, one in 10 (12%) at the dinner table and a quarter in the bath (24%).

Parents’ relationships are taking a sleep deprived hit too with almost six out of 10 saying it has led them to have more arguments with their partners.

Outside of having to soothe a fussy baby or having little ones creep into your bed, over a third of carers experience poor quality sleep due to worrying whether the baby is breathing properly (37%).

And all this awake-time is having huge knock-on effects with over half (51%) of men reported a negative impact on their performance at work, whilst over a quarter (47%) of women say they’ve witnessed negative impacts on their friendships.

No wonder that parents are craving someone else stepping in to watch the baby with almost a third (31%) admitting to sleeping best when someone else is there to takeover. A luxury that not all new parents will have.

Parents are missing out on a month’s worth of sleep in the first year [Photo: Getty]
Parents are missing out on a month’s worth of sleep in the first year [Photo: Getty]

Commenting on the findings Connie Simpson, Hollywood nanny to stars including Justin Timberlake, Emily Blunt and George and Amal Clooney, says: “Most parents and carers who make it through the feeding, changing, and even getting their little one down to sleep, still do not sleep themselves.

“The reason they aren’t sleeping is because they are hovering – constantly checking on their little one while they’re sleeping.”

READ MORE: Surprising things that are stopping you sleeping

The research comes after it was revealed earlier this year that having a child will disrupt your sleep for at least six years.

A study, tracking almost 5,000 parents found that even when children had reached school age, mums and dads were still suffering significantly worse sleep than before they entered parenthood.

Unsurprisingly, sleep satisfaction and duration was at its worst in the first three months after birth, the study, by the University of Warwick and published in the journal Sleep, found.

Further research published back in 2017 found that the UK’s parents are on the verge of a sleep crisis, which is having a real effect on UK families by impacting everything from their mental health to their relationships.

According to a study from Netmums a whopping 83% of parents have had sleep issues with at least one child, over half (55%) of parents said they are unhappy with the amount of sleep they get each night and 56% confessed their child/children wake at least once or multiple times during the night.

But lack of sleep can have very real effects on emotional and physical wellbeing – with three quarters of those parents polled agreeing that sleep deprivation impacts on their mental health.

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