New parents! This is how long it’ll be until you get normal sleep again


by Ellie Kirwin-Jones |

As you become a new mum or dad, you're expecting no more than three hours of sleep when you hit the pillow.

And they're right, as research says the quality and quantity of your sleep will carry on being effected and disrupted for years after from the moment you have a baby.

But how long until can you expect 'normal' sleep again?

SIX. Six whole years.

The study 'long-term effects of pregnancy and childbirth on sleep satisfaction and duration of first-time and experienced mothers and fathers’, a collaboration between the German Institute for Economic Research and the West Virginia University studied a total of 4,659 parents' sleeping patterns who had a child between 2008 and 2015.

Warwick University found that 'mothers slept on average 1 hour less than before pregnancy in the first 3 months after birth, while fathers sleep duration decreased by approximately 15 minutes'.

Although it's no shock that parents won't be sleeping for the recommended 8 hours, the report said that 'six years after birth, mothers slept 20 minutes less and fathers were still deprived of 15 minutes.'

Dr Sakari Lemola, from the Department of Psychology at the University of Warwick, brought up that mothers are often the 'primary caregiver' in the family:

“Women tend to experience more sleep disruption than men after the birth of a child, reflecting that mothers are still more often in the role of the primary caregiver than fathers.”

The sleep duration of mothers with children aged 4-6 years old was '20 minutes shorter in mothers' and '15 minutes shorter in fathers' compared to their sleep duration before pregnancy, it concluded.

The University also found that in the first half a year after birth, the sleep effects were stronger with mothers who breastfed their newborns, compared with those who bottle fed.

Though, the report said even if you're a single parent, your sleep wouldn't be affected more than a couple's, as the study concluded that these factors 'didn't protect against changes in sleep after childbirth.'

The University lecturer continued to say: “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 6 years after the birth of the first child.”

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