A recent sleep survey in the UK found that parents lose an average of six months’ sleep during the first 24 months of their child’s life. According to the Silentnight survey, about 10 percent of parents only managed to get 2.5 hours of continuous sleep each night and over 60 percent of parents with kids under age 2 get less than 3.75 hours of sleep each night! Sleep deprivation is an inevitable part of bringing home baby, but how can parents minimize the long-term impact? We asked Dr. Christine Wood, a practicing pediatrician and certified lactation educator to offer tips for getting more Zs.
The Problem With Sleep Loss
Adults really need double what many new parents are able to squeeze in — we should be logging 7 to 9 hours of sleep every night. When individuals aren’t able to meet that sleep goal long term, the continued deficit can lead to chronic insomnia — a serious issue for parents. According to Wood, who is also a member of USANA Health Sciences Scientific Advisory Council, the health consequences for this level of sleep loss can include:
- Slower reflexes and increased risks of accidents
- Impaired mood, memory and concentration
- Increased risk for developing obesity
- Weakened immune system
- Risk of premature death
These risks give parents even more motivation to find a way to get more sleep — as if struggling to keep your eyeballs open, snoozing through work and cranky moods weren’t enough to grab your attention!