Sleep deprivation is an inevitable part of having children, and it has long been assumed that mothers carry the brunt of this exhaustion. From cradling her baby boy to sleep to lying awake worrying about her teenage son's whereabouts, mothers definitely lose sleep over their children. With this hypothesis in mind, we set out to find out what being a mother actually does to your sleep. We conducted a survey paired with true sleep data analysis in order to prove whether parenthood affects sleep or not, and if it does to what extent.
Our analysis found that on average, moms are faced with the most sleep challenges including more frequent interruptions and trouble falling asleep. In addition, only 13% of women with children rate their sleep as good, compared to 46% of fathers.
Parents ages 25 and up living in the U.S. were surveyed about their sleep habits and patterns, and were asked to rate the quality of their sleep. We analyzed these responses in correlation to the sleep data collected from our Sleep Tracker and Smart Mattress, which measures over 12 sleep data points including sleep times, toss and turns, and deep and light sleep.
Although the data showed that women sleep more than men, mothers experience greater sleep challenges. Moms frequently reported having trouble falling asleep, with 10% saying they have trouble "always" and 16% "often" - compared to 7% and 12% respectively for dads. Women with children also report getting up in the middle of the night more often than men with children. In families where children wake up in the night, mothers' sleep suffers more than that of dads' with their amount of deep sleep decreasing considerably. A healthy person's deep sleep range per night is 18 to 25%. Moms with children who wake up twice per night present a lower average than dads in the same situation: 21% vs 24%.
Mothers may sleep longer (7 hours 34 minutes compared to 7 hours 17 minutes for fathers), but that doesn't mean they are getting a good night's sleep. The old saying quality over quantity rings true. A mom whose sleep is disrupted during the night may not get enough full cycles of sleep. This explains why she is less likely to rate her sleep as "good." She probably feels more tired during the day due to the frequent wake-ups and the difficulty falling asleep.
Help your mom get the best sleep possible this Mother's Day. Don't do something to worry her and make sure she is as comfortable and relaxed as possible. Treat her to a spa day, she deserves it!
Eight published this research in its first National Sleep Trends Report. To read the full report, click here.