Can you guess how much sleep new parents truly lose?


Becoming a parent is undeniably one of life’s most transformative and joyous experiences. From planning the perfect nursery to choosing the coziest crib, parents-to-be eagerly prepare for the arrival of their little one.

Yet, in the middle of all the excitement, there’s a sobering reality: newborns sleep differently than adults. Gone are the days of uninterrupted 8-hour stretches of sleep. But often, the anticipation of the baby’s arrival overshadows the impending changes to your sleep patterns.

Understanding how your sleep will shift after the baby’s arrival is crucial for navigating the challenges that lie ahead. That’s where we come in. We’ve done the research, so you don’t have to.

Join us as we delve into the realm of sleep deprivation in new parents. Discover how much sleep you can expect to lose, how your sleep patterns will change, and, most importantly, practical tips for getting more rest. After all, well-rested parents are happier and better equipped to care for their bundle of joy.

How much sleep do new parents lose in the baby’s first year?

Let’s get straight to the facts: According to a survey by Snuz, done on 1,300 parents, 7 in 10 parents lost at least 3 hours of sleep a night on average in the first year of their baby’s life. 

Can you guess how much that adds up to? This nightly sleep deprivation adds up to a startling total of 133 nights of lost sleep by the time your baby celebrates their first birthday!

So basically, out of the 365 days of a year, new parents don’t end up sleeping around 133 nights! That’s a lot of lost sleep.

What’s the impact of sleep loss on new parents?

The impact of sleep loss on new parents is multifaceted and far-reaching.

Beyond the immediate exhaustion felt after a night of fragmented sleep, the consequences extend far beyond mere fatigue. Research has shown that sleep deprivation can have profound effects on both physical and mental health. It not only affects individual well-being but also has broader implications for family dynamics and overall quality of life.

  • Physical health

Physically, the toll of sleep loss can weaken the immune system, leaving parents more susceptible to illnesses. According to NIH, chronic sleep deprivation is associated with an increased risk of obesity, heart disease, and diabetes. The body’s ability to repair and regenerate is compromised when adequate sleep is lacking, leading to slower healing times and overall diminished health.


Did you know?

A Penn State research found that parents experiencing sleep deprivation have an increased likelihood of developing depression and being involved in car accidents.

  • Mental health

The impact of sleep loss is equally significant on the mental health front. NIH says that sleep deprivation is closely linked to trouble making decisions, solving problems, controlling your emotions and behavior, and coping with change.

New parents often find themselves overwhelmed by the demands of caring for a newborn while operating on little to no sleep, leading to feelings of frustration and despair. Furthermore, prolonged sleep deprivation can contribute to the development of mood disorders such as depression and exacerbate existing mental health conditions.

  • Family dynamics

Beyond individual health outcomes, the consequences of parental sleep loss can ripple through family dynamics and daily functioning. Relationships may suffer as communication becomes strained and patience wears thin. Cognitive functioning is impaired, making it difficult to concentrate, make decisions, and perform tasks effectively. The ability to be fully present and engaged with their newborn may also be compromised, impacting bonding and caregiving experiences.


Did you know?

According to Snuz, nearly half of the parents have used white and/or pink noise to help their baby get to sleep, almost a third of people admitted to driving their baby around in their car to try getting them to sleep, and during the COVID-19 pandemic, almost half of all parents felt they didn’t have the support they needed or wanted with regards to their baby’s sleep.

Sleep challenges the postpartum period

The postpartum period, often referred to as the “fourth trimester,” is a time of immense adjustment for new parents. Alongside the joy of welcoming a new addition to the family, this phase comes with its own set of unique challenges, particularly in the realm of sleep.

  • Physical recovery: In the immediate aftermath of childbirth, the body undergoes significant physical changes and recovery. Whether a mother has had a vaginal delivery or a C-section, the body requires time to heal. Pain, discomfort, and hormonal fluctuations can all interfere with sleep during this period, making it difficult for new parents to rest adequately.
  • Frequent feedings: Newborns have tiny stomachs and rapidly growing bodies, necessitating frequent feedings around the clock. Breastfeeding mothers may find themselves waking up multiple times during the night to nurse their baby, as breast milk is quickly digested. Even for parents who choose formula feeding, the need for regular feeding sessions persists, contributing to disrupted sleep patterns.
  • Unpredictable sleep patterns: Newborns have unpredictable sleep patterns. While some babies may sleep for several hours at a stretch, others may wake up every hour or two. This variability can leave parents feeling uncertain and exhausted, unsure of when they will have the opportunity to rest.
  • Nighttime care: Beyond feeding, newborns require constant care and attention, day and night. Diaper changes, soothing techniques, and comforting a crying baby are all tasks that may disrupt sleep for new parents. Additionally, the fear of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) may lead parents to check on their sleeping baby frequently, further interrupting their own rest.
  • Emotional challenges: The postpartum period is a time of heightened emotions, ranging from overwhelming love and joy to feelings of anxiety, inadequacy, and frustration. Lack of sleep can exacerbate these emotional challenges, making it more difficult for parents to cope with the demands of caring for a newborn.

Navigating sleep challenges during the postpartum period requires patience, resilience, and support. Parents are encouraged to prioritize self-care, accept help from loved ones, and communicate openly with their partners about their needs and concerns. While the early days of parenthood may be challenging, with time and adaptation, families can establish healthy sleep routines that promote rest and well-being for all.

Tips to squeeze more sleep into your routine as a new parent

As a new parent, getting enough sleep may feel like an impossible dream. However, with some strategic planning and adjustments to your routine, it’s possible to carve out precious moments of rest. Here are some tips to help you squeeze more sleep into your busy schedule:

  • Nap when your baby naps: This age-old advice holds true for a reason. Take advantage of your baby’s daytime naps to sneak in some much-needed rest. Even a short nap can help recharge your batteries and make a big difference in how you feel.
  • Prioritize sleep: It’s tempting to use precious free time for catching up on chores or scrolling through social media, but prioritizing sleep is essential for your well-being. Make sleep a non-negotiable part of your routine, and try to go to bed early whenever possible.
  • Share nighttime duties: If you have a partner, consider sharing nighttime duties to lighten the load. While it might not always be feasible if one of the parents to works, having them help on weekends or nights when they don’t have work the next day could still make a significant impact. This approach ensures that both parents get a chance to rest and participate in caring for the baby.
  • Habit-stacking with your baby’s routine: Habit-stacking is about cleverly bundling together small activities or habits into your existing routine. Think of it as creating a self-care sandwich with your daily slice of baby care. Your day is already a well-oiled machine geared around your baby’s routine. By syncing self-care habits with this routine, you’re not adding more to your plate; you’re just spicing up what’s already there.
  • Optimize your sleep environment: Make your bedroom conducive to sleep by keeping it dark, quiet, and cool. The AAP suggests room sharing (not bed sharing) with your newborn for the first six months. If you’re room-sharing with your little one, invest in blackout curtains, white noise machines, or earplugs to block out disturbances and create a peaceful sleep environment.
  • Limit caffeine and screen time: While it may be tempting to reach for a cup of coffee or scroll through your phone to stay awake, these habits can interfere with your ability to fall asleep. Limit caffeine intake and avoid screens for at least an hour before bedtime to promote better sleep.
  • Accept help when offered: Don’t be afraid to accept help from family and friends when it’s offered. Whether it’s meal delivery, babysitting, or someone to lend a listening ear, accepting help can give you the opportunity to rest and recharge.
  • Create a postpartum plan before your baby arrives: Another way to make your new parenthood better is by creating a postpartum plan in advance. In her blog post “What your doctor doesn’t tell you about the postpartum period,” Chitra Akileswaran, MD, suggests that parents should start planning early.

    “By the start of your third trimester, figure out what your support system will look like for your first month with your baby. Do you have people you can call? Are they going to stay with you or nearby for a period of time?” she says.

    She also suggests asking for support to support your child and connect with other parents.
    Hali Shields, founder of Figgi, a holistic telehealth platform for pregnancy and postpartum, says that she always recommends making a postpartum plan.

    “While many parents might be familiar with a birth plan, a postpartum plan can be just as effective! It might seem a bit type-A to put everything down on paper, but the act of prioritizing your own needs can be helpful. According to Shields, Your postpartum plan is a chance to think through your support network, what supplies you will need, how you’ll handle feedings and sleep, and how to take care of your own postpartum physical and mental health while caring for your newborn.”

Remember, getting enough sleep is essential for your physical and mental well-being as a new parent. By implementing these tips and making sleep a priority, you can better cope with the demands of parenthood and enjoy more restful nights.

Note: Please seek assistance from your doctor if you believe that insufficient sleep is affecting your mental, physical, and emotional well-being, especially if you sense that the situation is serious.


  1. Sleep that parents lose. Snüz. 2022. “The Truth About Sleep: Snuz Sleep Survey Results.”
  2. Sleep deprivation. NIH. 2022. “What Are Sleep Deprivation and Deficiency?
  3. Help babies sleep more. PennState. 2022. “Helping babies to sleep more.
  4. Room sharing with baby. AAP. 2023. “How to Keep Your Sleeping Baby Safe: AAP Policy Explained.

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