By Michelle Stein,
If you’re a new parent and would trade anything most days for a solid 8 hours of sleep, you’re not alone. Not by a long shot.
According to a newly-released joint survey from BabyCenter and Dr. Harvey Karp (author of The Happiest Baby on the Block) sleep deprivation is the top challenge for 62 percent of families. (Forty-eight percent said lack of time, 34 percent said money and 26 percent said sex.)
That’s probably because parents are only getting an average of 5.7 hours of sleep at night — and over three-fourths of us haven’t slept for 8 hours straight in months. It’s no wonder a whopping 78 percent of parents surveyed reported feeling tired or exhausted during the past week.
While it’s true the majority of us feel like zombies, there is a silver lining to this new survey: New moms and dads are feeling mostly positive about their roles as parents, in spite of these sleep problems.
“Parents are sharing baby care more equally now than ever before,” said Linda Murray, BabyCenter’s global editor in chief, in a news release. “While it doesn’t completely make up for a sleep shortage, that kind of partnership means parents are less angry with each other about being tired than they were five years ago.”
Still, sleep deprivation triggers real issues, including new-parent anxiety (54 percent) and frustration (44 percent.) Parents who were the most tired reported feeling more distance from their spouse (47 percent) and had more arguments with their partner over time.
“Exhaustion is a serious problem,” Karp said in a news release. “It leads to the same mental impairment as being drunk! In some families, it can trigger marital stress, postpartum depression, breastfeeding failure, obesity, and even infant deaths from falling asleep with the baby in an unsafe location.”
I feel this so hard. My youngest is 14 months old, and sleep deprivation is still number one on my list of parenting grievances. I keep reminding myself that she’ll eventually sleep through the night in her own bed. (She will, right? Right?!) Until then, a mombie I shall remain.