We hear a lot about sleep deprived mums and of course many dads do the hard yards too, but it’s a brave (or unwise) man who would dare try and crunch the numbers. Well now they don’t have to because research just in claims dads get less sleep than mums.
While some of you – dads and mums – are no doubt reading this through bleary eyes after a night of barely any sleep, let me explain.
In their new book titled The Informed Parent: A Science-Based Resource For Your Child’s First Four Years, science writers and mums Tara Haelle and Emily Willingham have crunched the research to find that while mothers might have more fragmented sleep, fathers are actually more sleep-deprived.
The authors trawled through the latest scientific studies in a variety of areas for the book, including the sleep, or lack of, recorded for both parents.
Fatherly reports the earliest study cited by the pair was in 2004 and involved 72 couples during their first month after baby’s arrival, where dads were found to have had less sleep than mum. It was a similar result in a 2013 study of 21 couples, and a 2012 survey of 241 new dads revealed most got less than six hours of a sleep a night while still working long hours.
While busting some common breastfeeding myths during World Breastfeeding Week recently, midwife and lactation consultant Jane Bolster told Babyology there is one tiny secret she shares with mums about breastfeeding.
“The quality of your sleep when you’re a breastfeeding mother is very, very good,” Jane says.
“It’s biology’s way of saying, ‘I’m going to let you cope with having frequent wakings, as soon as you close your eyes you are going to have such a wonderful, solid, good quality sleep that when you wake up you’re going to be so surprised you’ve only just been asleep for an hour.
“It is biology’s way of helping breastfeeding mothers. If I had to do it now I would be absolutely shattered and it’s why partners are completely shattered, and they think the breastfeeding mother is in the same way but they’re actually secretly not.”
Every situation is different but I certainly remember some moments when I was breastfeeding my son at 2am and feeling invincible, despite my lack of shut-eye. Is it true for you too?
For more on sleep, babies and parenting, make sure to browse our sleep archives.