It doesn’t take an expert to tell you that having a baby means losing some sleep, but exactly how long does it take until you can sleep like a baby again? Research reveals that the sleep deprivation of moms can last for years—yes, years plural—beyond those newborn days.
A study published in the journal Sleep found that while the peak of sleep deprivation occurred within the first three months after a new baby’s birth, sleep quality and quantity did return to pre-baby levels until up to six years after birth. The study was conducted with 2,500 women and almost 2,200 men. It involved annual face-to-face interviews with participants in which they were asked to rank their sleep quality on a scale of 1 to 10, as well as report the number of hours they slept daily.
Not surprisingly, the study also found that moms reported losing more sleep than dads, especially during the first few months. Women reported losing an hour of sleep per night during the first three months after childbirth and 40 minutes on average for the first year. Dads, on the other hand, only reported losing an average of 13 minutes of sleep by the same three-month mark. Moms were still reporting an average loss of about 25 minutes from four to six years after birth.
And what about multiple kids? The study showed that having more than one child didn’t make the sleep loss worse, but after those first three months, sleep loss sleep patterns only recovered to the same quality and length that they were prior to the subsequent pregnancy.
We’re honestly amazed you’re even awake right now to read this.