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The Recommended Amount of Sleep For a Parent

Mother & daughter on new mattress

Welcoming a child into the world is an incredible and life changing event. Whether you are a first-time parent or have three kids, you quickly learn that with parenting often comes a lack of high-quality sleep. Studies have shown that the majority of parents lose a significant amount of sleep during the first year of their child’s life. As a parent, your time and energy are spent staying up late with your newborn or stressing over the well-being of your growing children. As a result, your sleeping needs begin to take a backseat. Keep reading for everything you need to know about how parents’ sleep schedules are impacted, how much sleep parents should be getting, and how to better attain the sleep they need.

How Much Sleep Are Parents Losing?

For the first three months of their lives, newborns sleep in short increments. For 16-20 hours out of a 24-hour day, babies are in a continuous cycle of falling asleep and waking up. Babies wake up for several reasons: a wet diaper, minor discomfort, or most often, time for a feeding. According to the Nemours Foundation, after the first three months, 90% of infants will start to sleep through the night. During this 3-month period where your newborn is settling into his or her sleep schedule, your sleep schedule as a parent will see significant changes. Data from Sleep Junkie revealed that 68% of people reported getting seven hours of sleep each night, but this percentage dropped down to 10% after having kids. Furthermore, another survey showed that parents with children under 18 months old generally only sleep 5-6 hours each night, meaning parents lose about two hours of sleep every night during that first year alone.

Sleeping Tips for Parents

While it may seem impossible to get enough sleep with a newborn or young children, there are simple solutions to help mitigate the sleep loss. If you are struggling with your sleep, we encourage you to consider implementing some of the following to help you get the sleep you deserve:

  • Practice a consistent sleep routine: It is advisable for parents to create a sleep routine that works for themselves and their children. For parents with newborns, this may include bathing your baby, changing them into pajamas, reading them a story, or singing them a lullaby. Doing these things each night will eventually teach your child that these are signals to go to bed. Additionally, we encourage parents to create their own bedtime routine that promotes calm and relaxation.
  • Create a healthy sleep environment: A person’s surroundings can have a big impact on their sleep. It is important for parents to create sleep-inducing environments for themselves and their children. A quiet, dark, and cool room generally creates a healthy sleep environment.
  • Ask for help if you need it: Parents often feel that they need to do everything, and that they are failing if they ask for help. Introducing a new family member to families is overwhelming, so ask for help if you need it. A parent can catch up on some much-needed rest while someone else tends to your child, even if it is just for a couple of hours.
  • Take turns with your partner: If you are raising your child with a partner, it is important that you work together as a team. This allows parents to take shifts during the day and at night. While one parent sleeps or showers, the other can be up with the baby.
  • Take some time to yourself: Studies have revealed that parents only spend around 5% of their day on self-care. Everyone needs time to refresh and regroup, even parents. While it may seem inconceivable, parents need to carve out time to rejuvenate themselves outside of sleep. Making time to pursue a hobby such as cooking, reading, or crafting can relieve additional stress that may be keeping you up, as well.
  • Take a nap: Naps can sometimes make all the difference. According to the National Sleep Foundation, a simple 20-minute nap can improve someone’s mood and alertness.
New parents are going to face endless challenges when it comes to raising their child, but lack of sleep does not have to be one of them. Hopefully some of the tips mentioned above will help you get your sleep back on track, but if you feel that you need additional help, be sure to check out our Sleep Calculator. This simple tool can be used to help you figure out the right sleep schedule for your needs by simply inputting how much sleep you want to get, and the time you want to wake up. It is a simple tool that yields huge sleeping benefits.