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Several of my friends have been talking about a recent study that clocked a parental sleep deprivation of six years after having a baby. They talked about how the study makes so much sense because they feel like they are never rested.

Yes, we were all told by well-meaning friends and family members that we would not sleep after the baby arrived - and we were as prepared for that as we could be. But this is the first time lots of people are talking about being sleep deprived until your child is in first grade.

Like most studies, this one focuses on averages. So Moms of newborns average 62 minutes of less sleep compared to pre-baby days. Moms of first graders averaged 20 minutes less sleep compared to pre-baby days. I don't doubt those numbers, but I do wonder what the average times are for years 1-5. Does the sleep deficit ramp down slowly?

When my friends were talking about these numbers, I did a little bit of gentle challenging: Didn't you just tell me an hour ago that you started getting up earlier to have some time to yourself in the morning? Or exercise? Or meditate? So the real question becomes: Are these parents not sleeping at night because of a direct interaction with their little one or because they want some time alone?

I guess that either way parents need a nap.

Do you sacrifice your sleep to get things done for yourself in the morning? Tell me in the comments.

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Comment by Kelly Zieman on March 6, 2019 at 9:02pm

My life as a parent is the furthest from A typical as it gets. I will tell you that as long as I can remember I have always sacrificed going to bed early to have time to myself. Mainly to watch missed shows or ones that are far too inappropriate, eat the snacks, maybe all the snacks? Also, I choose night versus morning for multiple reasons. Initially before my son, I chose night versus morning because waking early in winter and fall was miserable. It would be senseless to alternate based on weather. Then when our son was born almost 4 years ago, his medical needs required us to take turns staying awake all night beside him. It was literally a matter of life and death. Doze off for a second and things could turn critical. Then we adjusted to his great improvements and no longer needing us by him awake 24/7. I guess you could say being a parent for over 17 years I have always gone to bed later than need be. I can't fathom ever changing that. 

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