Moms and dads should not expect their sleep habits to bounce back to the first six years of their child's life, according to a new long-term study involving nearly 5,000 parents.
When I was a child, I was very young. The good ol 'days of uninterrupted nights and luxurious weekend sleep-in had become a fading memory, so I resolved myself to my fate.
A new paper published today in the science journal Sleep reminded me of those days when I was struggled to get enough sleep. It affirmed my personal experience, showing that, both parents and moms and dads experience less sleep and poorer sleep satisfaction for a period of up to six years after the birth of their first child.
Sakari Lemola, who recruited specialists from the Institute for Economic Research and West Virginia University. Socio-Economic Panel-a long-term data gathering study involving annual face-to-face interviews with participants. Lemola's team analyzed the sleep of 4,659 German parents (2,541 women and 2,118 men)
"Kelly Sullivan, a sleep expert at Georgia's Southern University, said Gizmodo.
As the new study noted, diminished and interrupted sleep peaks during the time of the study first three months after a child's birth-a challenging time when babies are fussy and in need of near-constant attention. During this initial three-month period, mothers said they were getting one hour less sleep than before, while fathers were getting 15 minutes less sleep on average. 15 minutes of sleep each night.
These findings were not answered to Sullivan, who said "sleep challenges are common and are more prevalent among women. "
As the authors wrote," Maternal Sleep Satisfaction Improves "as it passes, but it does not reach pre-pregnancy levels even to six years postpartum." By year six, mothers are still getting 20 minutes less sleep than before their pregnancy.
"Causes of the long-term decline in sleep satisfaction and duration to six years after birth may be changes in duties, strains, and worries related to parental role even when children are older," the authors wrote.
Somewhat surprisingly, factors such as household income or dual versus single parenting did not have any impact on the reported levels and quality of sleep; rich or poor, single or partnered-it did not seem to affect the results. That said, first-time parents reported poorer sleep compared to parents. So, mothers who breastfed so reported a slight decrease in sleep satisfaction compared to mothers who bottle-fed their babies. The father's sleep is not affected by breastfeeding or bottle-feeding.
Mothers consistently reported getting less sleep than fathers, the reason being that "mothers, including working women, still have more household and child rearing responsibilities and spend more time on these tasks compared with fathers in most industrialized countries including Germany," according to to the authors. That said, sleep satisfaction and sleep duration in fathers did not rebound to pre-pregnancy levels up to six years after the birth of their first child.
These results are upsetting because inadequate sleep has been associated with a number of health problems , as Sullivan explained.
"Other studies have shown insufficient sleep to be associated with increased accidents, problems concentrating, poor performance on the job and in school, and possibly, increased sickness and weight gain," she told Gizmodo. Insufficient sleep can therefore increase the risk of diabetes and cardiovascular disease for both men and women.  diabetes, depression, and weight gain. "
In terms of what parents can do to protect themselves from the effects of poor Sleep, Sullivan said it's important to consider the needs of each individual and family situation.
"For parents who seek guidance, exercise, enlisting help from family and friends, and the guidance of professionals seeking as therapists or physicians when needed," said Sullivan. As well as TVs close to bedtime. "
Accordingly, the authors of the findings further suggest that they may investigate the ways in which they may further impair themselves. At the same time, advice and support should be provided.
And as my own personal situation demonstrated, it does eventually get better. This period in a family's life can be extremely challenging, but it eventually comes to an end.