Baby Math

New Dad Daniel Radcliffe Has Some Thoughts About Tyrannical Baby Sleep Schedules

New parents have a new ally in their corner: Daniel Radcliffe.

TORONTO, ONTARIO - SEPTEMBER 08: Daniel Radcliffe attends the "Weird: The Al Yankovic Story" Premier...
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One of the harder things to adjust to when you become a new parent is the lack of sleep. You can read as many baby books as possible, talk to as many parents as you can, and try your hardest to sleep when the baby sleeps, but until we’re in the middle of life on a newborn sleep schedule, it’s hard to grasp just how hard it is. This is something Daniel Radcliffe recently learned after welcoming his first kiddo. According to his calculations, the math of infant sleep just does not add up. Hear, hear!

In an interview with E! News, Radcliffe opened up about life as a dad after welcoming his son earlier this year with longtime partner Erin Darke. When the interviewer asked how he’s adjusting to life as a dad, Radcliffe said he’s adjusting to “surprising” things, like how his baby’s sleep schedule just makes no sense.

"There's no relation to what we need for sleep," Radcliffe said of the sleep schedule babies are on. "The less I sleep, the more I sleep at night,” he says, seemingly referring to sleep debt and how adults need to catch up on their sleep no matter what. “But the less they sleep, the less they sleep!” He noted of babies. “And the more they sleep, the better they sleep! It makes no sense, but it is apparently how they work." Confounding stuff indeed!

And, with very little sleep, the sleep-deprived dad is also in awe at how babies seem to make us forget how tired we are — and whose fault that is in the first place.

"The fact that there is a creature in the world that can give you the worst night of your life," he noted, "and then you wake up in the morning and go over to them, and they turn around and smile, and you're like, 'I don't care about any of the things you just did.' That's pretty cool."

Radcliffe isn’t wrong. He’s certainly not alone in feeling like he never gets sleep anymore. One study from Sleep Junkie revealed that most new parents are only getting between 5 and 6 hours of sleep each night, on average. (The recommended hours of sleep a night is 7 to 9 hours for adults.) It also noted that parents, on average, lose 109 minutes of sleep every night for the first year after having a baby. Prior research found that parents lose around 44 days of sleep during their child’s first year of life, and another study found that it takes parents six years to return to their normal sleep schedules after having a child.

The numbers are harrowing and tiring but unavoidable. The reality is that sleep deprivation is part of the job. Functioning on little sleep is ridiculously hard and knowing you’re not alone in how it’s impacting you can be really beneficial.

One, remember that the days will soon be behind you. Two, there are some tricks that can help you catch a little more sleep to feel even slightly more like yourself when you’re living life with a newborn. For example, one study found that taking two shorter naps instead of one longer one may help you stay alert after the gnarly impact of an all-nighter with a baby or sick kid. Desperate times call for desperate measures — there are plenty of tips tricks and tips to stay awake on very little sleep, like opening a window, taking on the harder tasks of the day first, or by eating a smaller lunch and downing another cup of coffee.