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Early years

31st Jul 2023

New study says it takes six years before parents have a full night’s sleep after having a child


Welcoming a child is one of life’s greatest joys but as all current and expectant mothers know, it comes with a major lack of sleep.

Nobody can prepare you for the hours of sleep you lose when you are raising a little one, but a new study has shown just how much sleep we actually miss out on.

While night feedings and nappy changes may come to a natural end when they’re toddlers, you will still have nights where they  from nightmares and sickness.

According to a recent study from the University of Warwick, these everyday things can result in six years of life without a full night’s rest.

“We didn’t expect to find that, but we believe that there are certainly many changes in the responsibilities you have,” study coauthor Sakari Lemola, a psychology professor at the University of Warwick, told The Guardian.

Credit: Getty Images 

Earlier research initially indicated that parents miss out on an average 44 days of sleep during their child’s first year of life, but this study now shows the long-term impacts on our sleeping patterns.

The team at the University of Warwick tracked the rest of 2,541 mums and 2,118 dads over a six year period and during this time, parents noted how well they slept on a scale of 0 to 10.

Women reported having the most sleep loss during their baby’s first year, with a 1.7-point decline in sleep quality after their first children. This declined another one point after any other children they had.

Mums lost an average of 40 minutes of sleep each night for the first year, and lost an average of an hour within the first three months.

On the contrary, dads only lost around 13 minutes of sleep each night during the first year.

While dads got some more rest in this period, they actually lost out on much more overall, with both men and women not returning to their normal sleep schedules after having a child until they are six years old.