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WASHINGTON (CBS WASHINGTON) – New parents now have a new term for their absent-minded behavior: Babylag.
Sleep deprivation after having a baby is not uncommon, but it can have serious consequences, such as mothers falling asleep in the shower and fathers going to work on their days off.
And while such behavior can have its humorous side, three in four new parents suffer from what new research coins ‘babylag’ because of its similarities to jetlag.
A poll of 1,000 parents for toiletries’ brand Johnson’s Baby found that nearly half of new moms and dads get just four hours sleep a night for up to a week at a time. One in three are regularly woken three times a night by a crying baby in the early weeks of parenthood and 43 per cent of adults stay awake for an hour each time.
The difference between the two ‘lags’ is that it takes a lot less time to recover from the effects of a trans-Atlantic plane journey compared to months of disturbed nights, according to sleep expert Dr. Dev Banerjee, a consultant at Birmingham Heartlands Hospital.
“We’ve delved further, recognizing the true extent of sleep deprivation among new parents and the effects it has on them during daylight hours,” Dr. Banerjee told The Daily Mail.
The psychological side effects of losing sleep include heightened emotions for 36 percent and the zombie-like feeling of operating on ‘auto pilot’ for 17 percent.
“When parents are woken up by their 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,” said Banerjee. “If that is happening night after night it can lead to slower reaction times, poor concentration and affect memory recall and problem solving.”
Johnson’s Baby created a test for new parents to take, which measures just how exhausted they really are.
Among them are simple memory recall and reaction rate tests which should be easy to complete in a matter of seconds, but if they take longer than a minute to complete then parents could be suffering from babylag.
The site also has advice on how parents can cope with lack of sleep and to find a routine that helps babies sleep better within just a week.