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New Parenting Book Drops Bomb: Fathers Get Less Sleep Than Mothers

Put down your torches, Jim Horne haters because there are new sleep experts in town who finally have your back. Horne, you’ll recall, is the guy who used science to prove that women need more sleep than men. But Tara Haelle and Emily Willingham have your back, gentlemen. In their new book, The Informed Parent: A Science-Based Resource For Your Child’s First Four Years, Haelle and Willingham drop the bomb that dads are more sleep-deprived than moms. And, yes, they are women, so your wife can’t even hate too hard on them.

The main issue with tracking how much sleep men get is that no one seems to care, but you knew that already. Countless studies have been devoted to looking at how sleeplessness affects new moms, while scientists have mostly ignored the issue for dads (perhaps they’re too tired from raising their own kids). But for the few that have addressed it, the research overwhelmingly concludes that moms get more sleep than dads — it’s just more fragmented because your man boobs aren’t required multiple times per night.



The earliest study Haelle and Willingham cited was from 2004, which looked at 72 couples during the first postpartum month and found that dads got objectively less sleep than their spouses. A similar 2013 study of 21 mother-father pairs confirmed these findings and a separate survey of 241 new dads in 2012 showed a majority of you are working long hours on less than 6 hours of sleep a night. You deserve a medal for your service, but all you want is 2 extra hours of shut eye.

The most obvious reason for this disparity in sleep is that a majority of moms had the opportunity to catch up on sleep during the day, whereas most dads did not. This makes a great case for reformed paternity leave policies popping up in places like New York, because men need time to bond with their kids on the subject of napping too.