Adults need to have no less than 7–9 hours of quality sleep every night, according to the National Sleep Foundation. But there is a small problem that it’s impossible to find a solution for. Newborns don’t pay a lot of attention to these recommendations and keep their moms and dads up around the clock. And it appears that these parental yawns may go on for much longer than we might expect.
Tobe Gists knows that insufficient sleep can be very exhausting both emotionally and physically. That is why it’s better to know about at least some of the difficulties at the start, to be able to go through this magical journey with maximum ease.
It goes without saying that all new parents are well aware that they will have to forget about the sweetness of sleeping through the night when a baby arrives. But sometimes they believe that this will not last for very long and that they will get more sleep when their child gets just a little bit older. But what if we were to tell you that you are going to have less and poorer-quality sleep for about 6 years after the baby is born?
To find this out, researchers collected sleep data on 4,659 parents from 2008 to 2015. Moms and dads rated their sleep satisfaction on a scale of 0 to 10, as well as constantly reported the duration of their sleep.
The results show that during first 3 months of having a baby, mothers sleep on average one hour less than before. Perhaps unsurprisingly, fathers tend to sleep more than their wives, but they also lose around 15 minutes of night rest. 6 years after birth, mothers sleep 20 minutes less, and fathers still do not get their 15 minutes back. Both parents also confirm a decrease in their sleep quality.
Dr. Sakari Lemola, author of the study, highlighted that they didn’t expect to discover that sleep does not recover even 6 years after giving birth. But he explained that each age could have its own issues. Kids probably stop crying at night after a while, but then they might have nightmares, be sick, or just wake up earlier than their parents.
A curious observation has been made over the course of the research. Parents don’t lose more sleep if they decide to have more children. The sleep of mothers who’ve given birth to their second child, recovers to the levels they had before their new pregnancy. This happens because its quality and duration are already worse because of the impact of the first kid.
This information is very important because lack of sleep can lead to lots of different critical issues. For example, it is linked to problems with concentration, car crashes, weight gain, and various health issues. Of course, it doesn’t mean that we have to stop giving birth for the sake of our own lives and health. The point of this article is to make parents aware and help them understand what lifestyle adjustments they need to make.
They may include stress management, accepting help from friends and relatives, or seeking the advice of professionals. It is also beneficial to prioritize healthy sleep. New parents can limit caffeine intake, reduce exposure to the bright screens of cell phones or TVs near them, and agree on some routines. We believe that this will help you to avoid a lot of unrealistic expectations and difficulties.
Do you know other strategies that could help new parents go through this wonderful part of their lives?
Preview photo credit The Perfect Family / Variance Films