Baby Keep Waking You Up at Night? You're Worse Off Than You Think

yawningYou may not realize it beforehand, but when you decide to have a baby, you also decide to have a messy breakup with sleep. Why "messy"? Because you and Sleep aren't ending your relationship mutually with a long walk on the beach, final lingering hug, and tandem tear-stained cheeks. It's more of a coming home and finding that Sleep dumped all of your crap on the lawn and set fire to them kind of breakup. It's ugly. And it's not Sleep, it's you. Actually, it's more the third wheel who just entered the party: Your baby.

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The night you bring your perfect, red-faced newborn home with you from the hospital, it starts. And it can last for months. Nightly, you will be ripped out of a peaceful slumber (numerous times) in order to shuffle over to your crying baby who needs to be changed, fed, and comforted. And, although you make think that some sleep is better than no sleep, the scary truth is: It's not. Scientists just discovered that broken up sleep is the equivalent of about four hours of consecutive sleep. And that ain't good for a number of reasons, friends.

In the first study of its kind, researchers from Tel Aviv University's School of Psychological Sciences discovered that interrupted sleep can be as bad for us as no sleep at all. Technically speaking, when we're functioning on very little, broken-up sleep, we become, well, jerkfaces. The study, which may seem obvious but hadn't yet made the scientific link, showed that "induced night wakings, in otherwise normal individuals, clearly lead to compromised attention and negative mood" -- after just one night. So when you put a clean diaper on over your kid's dirty one; put the half and half away in the cupboard; and explode at your partner because it seems like he's physically incapable of replacing the roll of paper towels on the counter, instead opting to leave an ugly brown tube that serves no purpose whatsoever on the holder -- you can blame science.

The silver lining of it all? Well, who are we kidding here, there's no silver lining when it comes to sleep deprivation. But you can (un)rest assured that -- eventually -- you'll get a full night's sleep again. Promise. And when that happens, you and your partner can look back at all the crazy things you did and nasty things you said and laugh. If you haven't killed each other first.

How do you behave when you're functioning on no sleep?

 

Image © Jamie Grill/Tetra Images/Corbis

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