Study Finds that Moms with More Than One Kid Get Worse Sleep – But Dads’ Sleep Stays the Same
This just in: Tired Moms everywhere are not surprised at all.
Whoever created the phrase “sleep like a baby” clearly never had one. From multiple wake-ups throughout the night and being ready to rise before the sun is up, your little one’s sleep habits can leave you exhausted. So when you add more kids to your family, it may be the more the merrier but it doesn't mean more sleep, at least for one parent: Mom.
According to a new study, researchers followed the sleep patterns of 111 parents – 54 couples and 3 single mothers – for two weeks. What they found was moms with multiple children reported more fragmented sleep each night than moms who had one kiddo. Researchers noted the total amount of sleep did not differ depending on the number of children. So if you have two or four kids, you're sleeping about the same amount of hours and being woken up the same amount too.
However, guess who got extra sleep each night? Dad. The dads in the study reported they got the same amount of sleep each night no matter how many kids they have. While many tired moms may not be surprised by these dads’ responses, it still doesn’t annoy us any less.
Besides needing lots of coffee to make it through the day, researchers say just feeling tired and irritated are not the only side effects of mom getting less sleep than dad night after night. “Tension in the marital relationship may transpire if childcare is one-sided and not discussed collaboratively,” said Marie-Hélène Pennestri, Assistant Professor in the Department of Educational and Counselling Psychology.
So what can moms and dads do to make sure everyone is getting sleep at night?
- Create a nighttime routine that helps encourage your kids to fall asleep easily and stay asleep. Having the right gear and gadgets can help. From sleepsacks, nightlights, and sound machines, here are a few of our favorite night time must haves for kids.
- Babies and kids aren’t the only ones that need a bedtime routine. Focus on creating a healthy sleep routine for everyone in your house – this means you mom and dad. Need some ideas on how to do that, here’s what we suggest.
- According to one study, moms may need more sleep to feel mentally and physically better overall, and dads who got time to exercise reported the same benefits to their mental and physical health. So if this works in your family, prioritize more sleep for mom and exercise for dad.
- Divide and conquer when it comes to the kids and household responsibilities. From making sure our kids’ needs are met, maintaining our homes, work responsibilities, and everything else we have to accomplish during the day, we have to work with our partners so that one person isn’t feeling overwhelmed and exhausted all the time. Communicate with your partner to figure out how to divide up the responsibilities and see what changes you can make to ensure everyone gets more rest.