It’s no secret that a baby disrupts sleep, but a new study shows that parents of a newborn might not get a good night’s sleep for up to six years.
Researchers studied sleep patterns of more than 4,600 German parents who had a child between 2008 and 2015 for a study published in the peer-reviewed journal Sleep.
Not surprisingly, mothers reported losing the most sleep, more than an hour of sleep in the first three months after having their first child and about 40 minutes of sleep nightly in the first year. Women who breastfed reported the worst sleep satisfaction.
Fathers also reported a loss in sleep, but it was much less pronounced than mothers. Dads said they lost about 15 minutes the first three months after childbirth.
Neither parent reported getting their sleep back to what it was postpartum for up to six years after the birth of their first child. Sleep satisfaction never really recovered, according to the study.
“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 birth of the first child,” author Sakari Lemola of the University of Warwick said in a statement.
The study was limited by self-reported data, as parents were asked to accurately track their sleep patterns ranked sleep quality 0 to ten and list number of hours they slept.
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