New research shows more than three quarters of new parents (77%) are suffering from sleep deprivation as they struggle to get a good night’s sleep. Now, the JOHNSON’S® Baby brand and sleep expert Dr Dev Banerjee have coined a new term, ‘babylag’, for that feeling of extreme exhaustion new parents can suffer as a result of sleep deprivation, that’s not too dissimilar to transatlantic jet lag.
The can’t-keep-your-eyes-open, desperate-for-a-nap feeling only experienced by parents with young children as a result of sleep deprivation has been often indescribable, until now.
Nearly half (44%) of new parents only get their heads down for half the recommended eight hours of uninterrupted sleep or less per night, with nearly a third (31%) being woken up three times a night or more and almost half (43%) up for at least an hour each time they are woken. It seems much of the nation is walking around in a zombie-like state, suffering from ‘babylag’ with “heightened emotions” (36%), describing themselves as “more tired than they’ve ever experienced in their life before” (42%) and “as though they’re on auto-pilot” (17%).
What’s more, this sleep deprivation is leading to all sorts of funny behaviour with parents confessing to confusing cupboards for the fridge, hanging dry washing on the line, putting milk in the washing machine, and some even confessing to falling asleep in the shower!
The effects of ‘babylag’
“Now we’ve delved further, recognising the true extent of sleep deprivation amongst new parents and the effects it has on them during daylight hours. The term ‘babylag’ seems very fitting as the symptoms experienced by parents are akin to clocking up numerous transatlantic flights and suffering extreme jet lag.
Dr Dev concludes: “When parents are woken up by baby regularly in the night they rarely enter the final stages of ‘deep’ sleep, denying their bodies the chance to re-charge and prepare for the day ahead.
“If that is happening night after night it can lead to slower reaction times, poor concentration and affect memory recall and problem solving. The JOHNSON’S® Baby research findings revealed some funny antics of sleep deprived parents but suffering these symptoms can have serious consequences too, so it is important to try to tackle baby sleep issues and help everyone get a good night’s sleep.”
If you want to get an idea of how “babylagged” you might be, take the fun, interactive ‘babylag’ test online, at www.babylag.co.uk, which measures three areas commonly affected by sleep deprivation- memory recall, reaction time and problem solving ability.
JOHNSON’S® Baby spokesperson James Watson, Senior Product Manager, adds: “Becoming a new parent undoubtedly brings the most special moments of your life, but it also brings a tiredness beyond normal measure that virtually all new parents can relate to.
“We think this new term, ‘babylag’, sums up that feeling in-a-nutshell and wouldn’t be surprised if it starts to creep into everyday vernacular, much like ‘baby brain’ has. But more importantly, we don’t just want to focus on the problem but also provide a solution – we want to get Britain’s parents sleeping again and know that routine is absolutely key to sleep for baby, and therefore for you too.
“The Johnson’s Baby 3-step bedtime routine is clinically proven to help baby sleep better in just one week, so give it a try!”
Things you didn’t know about sleep…
1. The record for the longest period without sleep is 18 days, 21 hours, 40 minutes during a rocking chair marathon. The record holder reported hallucinations, paranoia, blurred vision, slurred speech and memory and concentration lapses.
2. It’s impossible to tell if someone is really awake without close medical supervision. People can take cat naps with their eyes open without even being aware of it.
3. Anything less than five minutes to fall asleep at night means you’re sleep deprived. The ideal is between 10 and 15 minutes, meaning you’re still tired enough to sleep deeply, but not so exhausted you feel sleepy by day.
5. A new baby typically results in 400-750 hours lost sleep for parents in the first year.
6. One of the best predictors of insomnia later in life is the development of bad habits from having sleep disturbed by young children.