People like to joke that new parents “will never sleep again” when they’re about to have a baby. And after a few nights with a newborn? It totally starts to feel that way. Of course, you will sleep again, but according to new research, it may take as long as six years.
A new study from the University of Warwick in the U.K. tracked close to five-thousand moms and dads for years to see how their sleep was affected by becoming new parents. It’s no surprise to anyone who’s been in the trenches with a newborn that both sleep satisfaction and duration was at its worst during the first three months after baby’s birth. But those sleep-deprived nights? They can last up to six years for both parents.
The research tells us something else new moms already know - there’s a gender difference in the amount of sleep lost. If you guessed moms lose more, you’re a terrible guesser,but you’re also right. The study finds that during the first three months after giving birth, mamas lose out on an hour’s sleep a night, while dads are only losing about 15-minutes a night.
But the drag doesn’t stop when the midnight feedings and diaper changes do. Over the first four to six years with their first child, the study finds that women missed out on 41-minutes of sleep a night, while men only lost about 14-minutes. By the time the kid is six, that evens out a bit and mothers are sleeping about 20-minutes less than they did before before pregnancy. So hang in there, mamas – in six years, you’ll almost be back to normal sleep again.