If you're pregnant for the first time, you've heard this advice, for sure: get as much sleep as you can before the baby arrives.
That's because caring for a newborn takes a big chunk of a new parent's bedtime (nighttime feedings anyone?). No surprise there.
A new study that will be presented at the annual American Academy of Neurology this April is yet another confirmation of something we already know: Having kids is a major factor in the amount of sleep one gets.
However, the new research also shows that while moms are losing major shut-eye during the early child-rearing years, dads' sleep cycles are not at all affected by having children in the house.
Researchers from Georgia Southern University surveyed more than 5,800 adults on the number of hours of sleep they get each night and how often they felt tired during the day.
For purposes of the research, seven to nine hours of sleep was considered sufficient and less than six hours was seen as insufficient.
They looked at age, marital status, exercise regimen, and even snoring, to name a few, but only one factor contributed to having less than adequate sleep: having kids.
Among the 2,908 women aged 45 years and younger who participated in the study, only 48 of women with children reported having at least seven hours of sleep compared to 62 percent of women without kids.
In fact, the study discovered that having a child increases the odds of insufficient sleep by nearly 50 percent. The odds of a mom having adequate sleep is slashed by half for every child she welcomes into the world.
Ergo, more kids means less and less sleep.
"I think these findings may bolster those women who say they feel exhausted," said study author Kelly Sullivan, Ph.D., of Georgia Southern University in Statesboro, Georgia, and a member of the American Academy of Neurology, via a press release.
"Our study found not only are they not sleeping long enough, they also report feeling tired throughout the day," she adds.
According to the National Sleep Foundation in the U.S., adults should aim to get around seven to nine hours of sleep each night.
Dr. Sullivan urges women to address this gap.
This is not to say, however, that all dads are slacking off when it comes to childcare, but maybe it's time they took a more active role in managing the home or in taking care of the babies so their wives could sleep more.
"Getting enough sleep is a key component of overall health and can impact the heart, mind and weight," she says.
Philippine-US registered dietitian-nutritionist Cheshire Que, R.N.D., R.N., R.D.N., couldn’t agree more.
"When we’re sleep deprived, our body gets stressed out and the level of stress hormone cortisol shoots up that leads to weight gain," she explains.
Moms, it's time to put your health higher in your list of priorities.
This story originally appeared on SMARTPARENTING.COM.PH.
* Minor edits have been made by the Pep.ph editors.