Parents’ sleep doesn’t recover until 6 years after having baby, study says

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If you’re a parent, you may or may not be surprised a recent study found that having a baby negatively impacted the sleep patterns of new parents for years. 

But what’s the impact of a baby on your sleep? A new study says 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.

According to researchers, moms lost more than an hour of sleep each night for the first few months. 

In the first three months, dads slept 15 minutes less. 

Fast forward now to 6 years after birth. 

Six years later, moms still slept 20 minutes less, whereas dads were still 15 minutes deprived. 

Dr Sakari Lemola, from the Department of Psychology at the University of Warwick, said a mother’s sleep was typically more disturbed than fathers.

“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,” she said.

The study noted first-time parents were the most impacted by the sleep effects, as compared to experienced parents.

Researchers also found breastfeeding mothers in the first half a year after birth led to more sleep deprivation. 

According to the study, higher household income and psychosocial factors such as two vs. single-parenting did not appear to protect against these changes in sleep after child birth. 

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