New Parents More Sleep-Deprived Than We Thought

Think you're the only new mom who routinely gets just an hour of uninterrupted sleep? Think again.

Sleep-Deprived New Parents with Baby Kotin/Shutterstock
May is Better Sleep Month—which is interesting because we've just gotten word that entirely too many parents get way, way too little sleep. 

A new survey from Owlet Baby Care—the same company that brought us this handy gadget—found that nearly half of all parents with children six months or younger get just one to three hours of uninterrupted sleep a night. This is, admittedly, not shocking—the sleep deprivation that comes with raising a baby is well-documented and anyone who has had children knows how real this is on another level. But it's still sort of a jarring statistic and it begs the question: Is this sleep deprivation interfering with out abilities to be good parents?

We all know that most adults should be getting eight solid hours of sleep a night. We also all know that for many of us, this is just not in the cards. Work, chores, errands, family, social obligations, Netflix...those are just a few of the things that make it nearly impossible for us to get the suggested amount of shut eye. But when we become parents, it becomes so much more difficult. Owlet reports that just 5 percent of parents with children aged zero to six months sleep that full eight hours a night. Nearly half of all parents with kids in this age range (43 percent, to be exact) get just one to three hours of undisturbed sleep on a regular basis. In fact, 17 percent of respondents said they get poor sleep every single night while raising newborn children.

More: Doctors Advise a Better Way to Sleep After Birth

This is not a good thing. Sure, most of us can manage to get by on five or six hours a night but a mere hour of sleep is just not enough, especially when you're caring for children all day. Fragmented sleep can be just as unhealthy as no sleep at all—so even if parents are managing to sleep for a respectable number of interrupted hours, they're still not getting enough rest.

"Owlet conducted this survey to shed light on the sleep related issues that parents of newborns face, especially in the first six months," Kurt Workman, Owlet Baby Care's CEO and co-founder said. "Many of us at Owlet are parents to newborns, so we understand first-hand how having a newborn can have a major impact on parents' ability to get a good night sleep. While striving for a solid eight hours when you have a newborn is pretty unrealistic, we developed our safe sleep system to provide parents with peace of mind while their baby is sleeping so they can worry a little less and get more sleep."

Not surprisingly, moms get less sleep than their male partners do, with 32 percent saying their partners never get out of bed at night to check on the baby. Just seven percent of men say the same of their female partners. And sure, there's the old "sleep when the baby sleeps" adage, but 41 percent of the parents surveyed said they can never sleep during daytime nap hours. 

Around 30 percent of new dads have fallen asleep at work, 21 percent of parents have fallen asleep in parked cars, twelve percent have fallen asleep at the kitchen table and 11 percent have drifted off in the shower (which sounds pretty dangerous, no?)

So what can you do to minimize this sleep deprivation? There's the option of shelling out for a night nurse or setting up a schedule so nighttime duties are split between both partners. There's also this trick that could possibly help you get a bit more shut eye.

More: An Expert's Guide to Baby Sleep Training

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