How Much Sleep Do New Parents Lose?

Permanent exhaustion, bloodshot eyes, and dazed expressions are all dead giveaways of new parents. Round-the-clock feeds and frequent nappy changing can mean months of broken sleep, leading to a serious sleep deficit and worrying levels of sleep deprivation.
How Much Sleep Do New Parents Lose?

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One survey showed that parents can incur 6 months of sleep deficit during the first 24 months of a new baby’s life. It also found that 10% of parents manage to get just two and a half hours sleep each night and 60% of parents get less than three and a quarter hours sleep each night. 

We can often think of sleep as being a solid block of unconsciousness, but there are actually two types of sleep: rapid eye movement (REM and non-REM. Non-REM is made up of three stages:

  1. Drowsy state in which the body starts to relax and has less awareness of its surroundings.
  2. Body and eye movements cease and brain waves slow down.
  3. Deep sleep, the most restorative stage in which the body is unaware of its surroundings and other stimuli. 

A full cycle through these stages takes around 90 minutes, after which the body goes into REM. During a normal sleep pattern, the entire cycle is completed between 4 to 6 times per night, with most of the restorative sleep taking place during the first third of the night. 

It is recommended that we get between 7 to 9 hours sleep per night to maintain our cognitive function and stave off any sleep-related health issues. If the body is only getting a few hours’ sleep at a time and it is not fully completing the full cycles of sleep, a sleep deficit is built up which is increasingly difficult to pay back the longer the deprivation goes on. This sleep deprivation can ease off after around 3 months when babies usually start to sleep through the night, however, some children can take much longer to settle into a routine. 

After the 3-month mark, parents tend to lose around 2 hours sleep per night until the baby is around 6 months old. From then until the child is around 2 years old, parents tend to lose around 1 hour per night. 

So, what can new parents do to limit the deficit? 

Grabbing power naps are a great way to reduce sleep debt. Even short amounts of time spent sleeping can help to repay the deficit, so when the baby is sleeping, try to make sure you get some rest at the same time. Naps as long as 45 minutes can help to improve alertness for up to six hours afterwards, while shorter naps of 20 minutes are also great for boosting energy levels. 

If you would like to find out more about how REM-Fit Sleep Monitoring technology or Zeeq Smart Pillows can help you to get a better night’s rest, please get in touch with our experienced, knowledgeable staff by calling 020 8731 0020 or email us via  

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