Four and a half hours a night, totaling just over 31 hours a week, is the total amount of sleep time mom and dad lose in just the first year of their child’s life. This was revealed by research sponsored by Silentnight, the UK’s largest mattress and bed manufacturer.
According to the research, in 12 months there are about 975 times parents get up at night, nearly three times a night rising to four when parents are under 25. Mothers are the most affected, giving up an average of five hours, compared to three and a half hours for fathers. Men also find it easier to fall back asleep: seven out of 10 are able to rest after being awakened, compared to just 44 percent of women.
The study found that this is often because men take less time off work after childbirth and thus, their bodies maintain a more regular sleep routine than mothers, who get extended leave for up to 12 months. The authors also point out that breastfeeding is an important factor in night duties, so women are called upon more than men. In the survey, conducted by Silentnight, of five hundred parents with children under the age of five, the most common response was hunger or thirst of the little ones, which accounted for more than half of the nighttime distress calls, followed by teething, or the process of tooth development and placement with 41 percent and the need to go to the bathroom with 37 percent.
One in three mothers and fathers are estimated to take more than half an hour to leave their child.
“Caring for a baby boy or girl can have a significant impact on the quality of sleep for moms and dads, especially in the first few months after birth,” said Hannah Shore, sleep expert at Silentnight, Moms who choose to breastfeed naturally wake up more often than dads during the night, and, as a result, learn better how to put baby back to sleep. This means that even when the baby does not need to be breastfed, mom is more likely to get up because she can soothe the baby faster. Everyone accepts that sleep quality decreases after becoming a parent.