Nicole Centinaro / Sue Murphy
Coyne Public Relations
America’s Sleep Crisis:
BabyCenter® Special Report Reveals Sleep Is Mom’s Biggest Challenge Ahead of Time, Money, and Work
40% of Parents Sleep Separately
72% of Moms Would Rather Get a Good Night’s Sleep Than Have Sex
(San Francisco) – November 12, 2012 /PRNewswire/ — BabyCenter.com, the #1 pregnancy and parenting destination worldwide, today announced the results of its Sleep Special Report. Sleep deprivation is a serious concern for millions of families, with three in five moms saying sleep is the number one challenge in their family (60 percent), above time (57 percent), money (56 percent), and work (41 percent). Fifty percent of parents get less than six hours of sleep a night. In fact, nearly 30 percent can’t remember the last time they slept eight hours. Additionally, nearly 40 percent of moms sleep in separate beds from their spouse or partner so at least one of them can get an uninterrupted night of sleep.
“With so much talk about the economy, this research really surprised us,” says Linda Murray, BabyCenter’s Global Editor in Chief. “When you have young children who don’t sleep, it’s an all-consuming problem that trumps every other concern in the house. Sleep issues feel intractable to many parents. You can take steps to deal with finances, like cutting coupons and eating at home, but most parents don’t have the tools to deal with their family’s sleep issues.”
“Sleeping under six hours has been shown to cut a person’s reactions and judgment to the level of someone who is intoxicated,” warns Harvey Karp, a nationally renowned pediatrician and BabyCenter.com sleep expert. “You’d never take your baby into your bed after going on a bender, but exhausted parents are essentially ‘drunk parenting’ their babies.”
“We often hear about moms of infants not sleeping through the night, but what many people don’t realize is the issue extends well beyond babies,” says Karp. “Fifty-three percent of moms with toddlers and preschoolers face persistent sleep struggles, particularly with getting their child to settle in and go to bed.”
The report revealed the biggest sleep issues facing families, among them:
Cranky Moms, Irritable Dads
Rough nights also take a toll on parents’ daytime hours, too. Three in five parents say they are “tired or exhausted most days,” and are generally irritable, frustrated, unable to focus at work or on relationships. Half of parents say they often drag through the day with less than six hours of shut-eye, and a third went without a full night’s sleep for (at least) the first year.
In fact, families are so sleep deprived that 72 percent of moms would rather get a good night’s sleep than have sex with her partner.
“Sleep deprivation can affect so many aspects of a person’s life,” says Karp. “It goes beyond just feeling tired – lack of sleep can undercut the health of everyone in the family in many ways, including obesity, depression, marital stress, child abuse, infant suffocation, on-the-job accidents, and work productivity.”
Sleep Patterns Are Always Changing
Half of moms say that sleep training is harder than expected – and not a guaranteed solution either, even if they do stick to a schedule. Forty-five percent of moms with toddlers or preschoolers report having to go through sleep training again between the ages of 2 and 3. And often it doesn’t do the trick. A third still have sleep issues with their kids every night or most nights, while nearly half (46 percent) say kids wake up not just once but several times during the night.
“Resistance, stubbornness, poor sleep cues, and the wrong bedtime can lead to battles at bedtime,” cautions Karp. “But parents can sidestep these conflicts with little tricks like establishing great routines. For example, giving your child a cuddly little lovey (comfort object), providing soothing white noise, and cooing lullabies create a consistent slumber routine that soothes tots with a loving invitation to bed.”
Beginning with the end of daylight saving time and continuing through the holiday season, sleep issues are even worse. The changing clocks, late-night gift wrapping, online shopping, and countless holiday parties that keep both parents and kids up past their bedtimes are more than enough to throw any family routine into a tailspin.
“With the holidays come colds, travel, loud parties, and sugary and rich foods, all of which can push a child into a spiral of sleepless nights,” says Karp. “That’s why experienced parents use specific sleep cues to establish a regular nighttime routine both at home and when traveling.”
Sleep Tips from Dr. Karp:
- Dim the house lights to “candle light” intensity for the last hour before bedtime.
- Kids sleep better with rumbly white noise played as loud as a shower. It’s like a “teddy bear of sound” that often works in just days, and helps for both naps and nights.
- Use the fun tip of “patience stretching” during the day to help your child learn to be less impulsive at bedtime.
- Make a “beddy-bye book” about the five or six steps of your child’s routine from dinner to sleep. Read it every day to boost cooperation at night.
- Do some “bedtime sweet talk” every night, reviewing all the successes of the day that’s ending and the great things that may happen the next day!
For more information on BabyCenter’s Sleep Special Report and advice from Dr. Harvey Karp, please visit: http://www.babycenter.com/sleepstudy.
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About BabyCenter® LLC
BabyCenter® is the voice of the 21st Century Mom® and modern motherhood. It’s the #1 pregnancy and parenting destination worldwide, reaching more than 13 million moms monthly in the U.S. and more than 29 million moms monthly in 22 markets from Australia to India to China. In the United States, 7 in 10 babies born last year were BabyCenter babies. BabyCenter is the world’s partner in parenting, providing moms everywhere with trusted advice from hundreds of experts around the globe, friendship with other moms like them, and support that’s remarkably right at every stage of their child’s development. BabyCenter also works with some of the world’s most prominent brands and institutions to provide life-stage marketing solutions and a direct line to highly engaged moms. BabyCenter is a member of the Johnson & Johnson family of companies.