Mattress Firm announced the results of its second-annual Sleep Uncovered: How Parents Sleep study, which uncovers notable differences in sleep duration, sleep quality and mental health between parents and nonparents to spotlight the effects of parenting on sleep.
Done in collaboration with SleepScore Labs, sleep data from 1,047 U.S. parents with a child between the ages of 1 and 12 living at home, as well as 368 nonparents over four weeks in early 2023, were analyzed. The results paint a complex picture of parents’ sleep: Parents self-reported more minutes of sleep on average than nonparents, yet the majority of parents report they’re sleeping worse now than before having kids.
Here are some key findings:
- Furthermore, 61% of parents surveyed agreed that their sleep was better before having children. Many people would guess that parents have worse sleep than they did before having kids, but little research had been done on how children’s age affects parents’ sleep beyond the first year. The Sleep Uncovered study reveals that parents with older kids report the worst sleep compared to parents with younger kids.
- Parents whose youngest child was between the ages of 6 and 12 reported 50 minutes less sleep per night than parents with a youngest child between the ages of 1 and 5. They also took 30 minutes longer to fall asleep at bedtime, spent 30 minutes more time awake at night, and took less frequent naps than parents with younger kids.
- Numerous factors worsened parents’ sleep, including having two or more kids, being an older parent with young children, and being a single parent. According to the survey, parents with multiple kids were more likely to agree that their sleep was better before having children. In the survey, 68% of parents with three kids agreed with the statement, compared with 54% of parents with two kids and 39% of parents with one child.
- Being an older parent with young children — defined as parents 45 or older with children under the age of 5 — also resulted in less sleep: That demographic reported 37 fewer minutes of sleep per night than other parents. About 70% said getting a good night’s sleep was important, compared with 40% of other parents.
- Single parents self-reported 52 minutes less sleep per night than coupled parents. They also reported taking 51 minutes to fall asleep, which is about 16 minutes longer than coupled parents. Single parents were less likely to nap and more likely to feel tired.
The full report is available for free download on MattressFirm.com.