Confessions of sleep deprived parents

Sleep deprivation is a killer isn’t it? I mean actual torture! Being sleep deprived is not just about feeling a bit tired, it’s way more than that as any parent will well know.

New parents will steal just four hours and 44 minutes of sleep in an average night during the first year of their baby’s life, it has emerged.

That means in their tot’s first 12 months, exhausted mums and dads will sleep 59 per cent less than the recommended eight hours a night, losing the equivalent of 50 nights of sleep – yes 50 whole nights!

It has also emerged a typical parent spends 54 minutes per day trying to get their baby to sleep, adding up to almost 14 days in their first year. I can well believe this.

Furthermore mums and dads will also pace the equivalent of two miles while rocking their baby each day and night, totting up to 730 miles – the equivalent of 28 marathons – over a 365-day period.

family life

The study, commissioned by Simba, also found with the average new-born waking three times a night when they first arrive home, sleep deprivation can take an emotional toll on relationships. More than two thirds of British parents believe they have got into arguments with their partner purely as a result of their baby’s poor sleep habits.

The study also found 23 per cent of those polled believe the lost sleep in their child’s first year at home led them to behave ‘slightly unusually’.

In their sleep-deprived state, 11 per cent have hallucinated something which wasn’t really there, and 44 per cent have completely forgotten what they were saying mid-sentence. Eight per cent have even forgotten the name of their baby, sixty-four per cent look back on their first year as parents and are ‘amazed’ they were able to function through it all as well as they did.

What strange things have you done that you put down to being caused by severe sleep deprivation? Here are a few that parents reported during the Simba study. Can you identify with any of these?

sleep deprivation

1. Feeding my baby spaghetti Bolognese for breakfast thinking it was dinner time
2. I lost the kettle once, and found it in the fridge where the milk lives
3. I once put cat food in the washing machine dispenser instead of powder
4. I put my toiletry shopping in the fridge rather than bathroom and my milk in the oven!
5. Putting a bottle of milk in my baby’s ear instead of the mouth
6. Using baby milk in my tea
7. Walking into a store without shoes
8. Pushing the pram out and realizing the baby wasn’t in it
9. I left my car running with the keys in the ignition whilst sat at work
10. Fell asleep standing up at counter top in kitchen

I’ve certainly found odd things in the fridge, fabric conditioner for example. I’ve also done things the wrong way around, so put a yoghurt pot in the dishwasher and thrown away the spoon, and I frequently forget what I’m saying mid-sentence.

Sleep deprivation can certainly do funny things to us!

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