Being a parent is always tiring, but this data shows it’s particularly exhausting when kids hit certain age ranges.

By Maggie Seaver
Updated June 17, 2019
Credit: Getty Images

It's likely any parent you ask will admit to getting less sleep than they want and need, no matter how old their kids are. Their palpable fatigue isn’t the only tell—many studies and surveys have proven parents with kids at all stages don’t get their prescribed eight hours every night. (One study by baby brand Hatch Baby found 25 percent of parents sleep only three to five hours a night!).

Intrigued by the seemingly ubiquitous sleep deprivation American parents experience, eco-friendly mattress company Amerisleep analyzed two-years’ worth of sleep behavior data from the American Time Use Survey. The data uncovered some interesting patterns and correlations between how much sleep parents get and their child’s age.

Who are the worst sleepers (probably by no fault of their own)? Broken out by dads and moms: Dads with a daughter under age 1, dads with a daughter between the ages of 3 and 5, and dads with a son between the ages of 13 and 17 all log the fewest hours (8.3) of sleep-related activity per 24-hour period; on the other hand, moms with a daughter ages 2 and younger and moms with a son under age 1 were the most sleep deprived (getting 8.6 hours, compared to moms with kids in other age categories). Unsurprisingly, both mothers and fathers with a baby under age 1 clock the least amount of sleep overall.

Infants' and toddlers' sleep behaviors seem to be the most disruptive for parents, who likely forgo sleep while acclimating to their little one’s needs and dealing with responsibilities like middle-of-the-night feeding, diaper-changing, and general care. One data point did stick out as an unexpected finding, however: Fathers with sons ages 13 to 17 clock just as little sleep as those with infants and toddlers. We can only speculate, but it’s possible the stress of raising a teenage boy—and the pressure to raise them right—weighs some on the sleep behavior of dads, especially as dads themselves get older.