Parents lose six months’ sleep in newborns’ first two years

FROM dream to scream five times a night – it’s not persistent nightmares but the wonders of parenthood.

A survey has found that between the frequent feeds, full nappies and naughty nightmares, newborn babies require urgent attention as often as every two-and-a-half hours during the night.

That means that parents on average lose out on six months’ sleep in just the first two years of their child’s life alone.

Newborns are the unwitting culprits as, even though they tend to sleep in fits and starts for 16 to 20 hours over any 24-hour period, it is virtually impossible for a parent to get more than a couple hours of rest at a time.

Silentnight surveyed 1,000 parents to see how often they are torn from their slumber to soothe the furrowed brow of their future heir.

Of those surveyed, almost two-thirds with infants under two years old got just three-and-a-quarter hours of sleep per night.

That is much less than half the eight hours recommended for adults and falls well short of the minimum five hours recommended by experts to enable an adult to concentrate and function.

Commenting on the findings, Silentnight’s sleep expert, Iftikhar Mirza, said an hour here and there does not negate “sleep debt”. She said parents should take regular, gentle exercise to release endorphins, which should lower the risk of mood swings.

The Sleep Council indicates that consuming too much food or alcohol before bed can affect sleep.

Others advise that parents who have missed sleep at night should try to take several cat-naps each day, however, cat-napping in the evening is a no-no as it could disrupt night-time sleep.


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