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Moms spill on how much they really sleep

Sarah Caron is a Connecticut-based freelance writer and editor. She lives with her wonderful husband, two adorable kids and two funny beagles. Check out her food blog at Sarah's Cucina Bella.

The truth about moms and zzz’s

Is your sleeping normal? Find out the truth about when moms really go to bed and how much sleep they are getting from these busy moms.

Ever wonder if other moms sleep as much (or little) as you do? Moms spilled their sleeping secrets, revealing a lot of sleep-deprived parents out there.

How much do moms really sleep?

"Typically, I get about five to six hours of sleep every night. Sometimes more, sometimes less. Most nights my daughter still wakes once for a quick nursing session," says Jessica Van Kirk of Colorado, whose daughter is nearly 13-months-old.
"I'm a mom of two and sleep about six and a half hours a night, which has been a treat these last few weeks, now that my four month old sleeps through the night," says Emily, a mom of two from Massachusetts.
"My son just turned two years old, and I haven't slept a full night since at least three months before he was born. Seriously, I think the best present someone could give me is a night in a hotel all by myself," says Jessica Roland of Oregon.

But don't worry — moms with older kids said they sleep closer to the 7-8 hour range.

Dangers of sleep deprivation

Parents — especially those with young children — are naturally sleep deprived. When you have a young child waking up in the night, it can be impossible to get a good night's rest. And sometimes that doesn't end for years. What are some of the risks and concerns that come with being constantly without enough sleep?

"I have lost most of my math ability and memory capacity because I'm just so tired all the time, but I think I get five hours a night now. It has gotten better in the past few months, because those five hours are straight through. Previously, I was sleeping in two to three hour chunks," admits Roland. And she's not alone.

"Sleep deprivation is very common in new parents. This can lead to fatigue, poor concentration, depression, anxiety and irritability. We are now seeing links to heart disease, weight gain and high blood pressure due to lack of good sleep," says Dr. Mary B. Seger, author of The Parent Guidebook - How to Raise Happy, Healthy Children With Advice From a Mom and Nurse Practitioner.

When to worry

You are tired...but when does that constant exhaustion turn into something you should be concerned about? Segar says, when the lack of sleep causes an inability to do daily activities. Segar says that the symptoms, which can also mean depression, can be fixed. Go to bed early. Take naps. Give yourself a break from the perfectionism." Another recommendation is to ask for help. Ask your husband to get up with the baby or bring her to you so you can breast-feed in bed. He can also take her back to bed," says Segar.

For parents of school age kids

Having kids in school doesn't mean a more peaceful rest time, though. So what can you do — since napping is probably out of the question? "Routine and schedule is imperative! You are the parent, not your child's friend. Sleep is imperative for the health and happiness of parents and children. Having a set bedtime and naptime keeps everyone happy," says Seger.

Bottom Line

The bottom line is that if you are nearing utter sleep deprivation, ask for help and accept it. You need it to be a functioning adult.

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