Babies cost parents six months’ sleep in the first two years after their birth, a study shows.
On an average, parents get just four uninterrupted hours a night – an hour less than the minimum they need to be able to function and avoid rows and mood swings.
In the poll, commissioned by mattress firm Silent night, out of 1,000 parents, two in three said they had only three and three-quarters hours’ sleep in one go.
A particularly unlucky one in 10 said they had less than two-and-a-half hours of uninterrupted sleep.
Typically, they are woken by their baby crying, then fall wearily back to sleep for only an hour or so.
“What parents don’t realise is that it’s the lack of ‘basal’ sleep that’s the problem,” the sleep expert Iftikhar Mirza said.
“You need a minimum of five hours uninterrupted sleep in one go.
An hour here and there doesn’t negate ‘sleep debt’.
Parents can eat healthily to boost immune systems and take regular, gentle exercise to release endorphins, which should lower the risk of mood swings,” he added.