Sleep loss plays part in parent splits


The dramatic impact of sleep deprivation after the birth of a child played a part in nearly a third of UK break-ups, according to the results of a survey carried out as part of a major new TV series on sleep issues. Three in ten people polled on Channel 4’s ‘Bedtime Live’ said that the loss of sleep was a key factor in their relationship breaking down, as they struggled and failed to handle nightly disruptions. The average night’s sleep for parents in the survey was five hours and forty-eight minutes, significantly less than the widely-recommended eight hours.

As well as the sad statistic on break-ups, the survey also uncovered a number of less-than-desirable responses to sleepless children. Around eleven percent admitted to feigning sleep when their baby cried in order to force their partner to tend to it and avoid getting up, while similar percentages said that they had shut the door on a crying child or turned up the volume on the TV to drown out the sound.

The programme will investigate the root causes of these sorts of behaviours, looking at how sleep deprivation can impact upon decision-making, along with current attitudes to sleep.

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