As a parent of little kids, the issue of sleep is a contentious one. For a few years "I'm tired" wasn't an acceptable way to answer "How are you?" in my home, because it only led to a war over who was more exhausted.
The sleep deprivation my husband and I suffered in the first year of our eldest's life was brutal. We understand now why it's used as a form of torture, and why parent's of young kids can be irritable, scatty and just plain tired ALL THE TIME.
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When our second was born, we braced for more endless nights of feeding, rocking and crying (us and them) but the powers that be granted us a beautiful sleeper. The older child however, continued her nightly wakings and after five straight years of this we're wondering if we will actually ever sleep a full night through again.
According to a study by researchers at the German Institute for Economic Research, we're actually closer to a good nights sleep than we hoped.
Between 2008 and 2015 they interviewed thousands of parents and unsurprisingly found that sleep "satisfaction and duration" declined sharply after childbirth, with the worst sleep reported during the first 3 months postpartum.
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Additionally, and unsurprisingly, they reported that women were more strongly affected.
Sorry to say though, they also found that " neither mothers’ nor fathers’ sleep fully recovers to pre-pregnancy levels up to 6 years after the birth of their first child."
So while there may be a light at the end of my tunnel, if you're cradling your new baby right now the answer to "Will I ever sleep again?!" is yes, in about six years time.
There's hope if you do plan to have more children: the study reports that sleep effects are "more pronounced in first-time parents compared with experienced parents."
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