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We know parents of babies lose a lot of sleep. Now we have a better idea of how much thanks to a new survey's findings.

By Zara Hanawalt
April 01, 2021
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It's not exactly fun to hear (like, at all), but there's a reason so many expectant parents receive advice along the lines of "sleep while you can!". No matter how many times you hear this type of warning, early parenthood—and the sleep deprivation that inevitably comes with it—has a way of smacking you in the face. Hard.

The idea that new parents aren't getting much shut-eye isn't a new one, but in order to fully appreciate just how much precious slumber the first year of a child's life takes from you, you need to experience it firsthand. To put it context, though? A recent survey finds that parents lose an average of 133 nights' worth of sleep before their babies turn one. Yup, sounds about right.

An image of a tired mother holding her baby.
Credit: Getty Images.

According to the survey's findings, around 7 in 10 parents sacrifice about three hours of sleep every single night during their kids' first year. That amounts to about 133 nights a year. To put it another way, the majority of parents are giving up one-third of a year's worth of sleep.

There's more to it, though. According to the survey, which was commissioned by Snüz and was based on the responses of 1,300 parents, nearly half (44 percent) of these parents reported that they felt "massively unsupported" when it comes to baby sleep. Again, this is (sadly) not surprising. From the lack of hands-on help many parents in this country receive (particularly in pandemic times!), to often unrealistic expectations surrounding infant sleep, to the judgment surrounding sleep training methods, parents are working against a lot when it comes to this topic. And that's to say nothing of the enormous responsibilities we face while sleep-deprived, both at work and at home.

Snüz also solicited answers from its community of over 82,000 Instagram followers to learn more about how parents of babies really feel where sleep is concerned (spoiler alert: They don't typically feel great about it). A whopping 88 percent reported this is a source of stress (can the remaining 12 percent share their secrets? Please and thank you), 77 percent of responders cop to feeling anxiety over the prospect of another sleepless night before they actually head to bed. And 65 percent said they feel lonely when up at night with their babies.

Because of these findings, Snüz celebrated Sleep Support Month through the month of March. But the truth is, we need year-round support and resources for new parents. Because raising little ones is just flat-out exhausting, particularly in those early days. And if these findings are any indication, the sleep deprivation—along with the stress, the anxiety, and the loneliness—parents are grappling with is just not okay.

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