When we were young and single, we were dying to stay up all night. Now that we’re parents, we’re dying if we stay up all night!

If there’s one thing for sure, having kids changes us. The recent Happiest Baby / BabyCenter survey (1000+ parents with babies under 6 months) sheds new light on what feelings and emotions change after becoming parents.

After becoming parents, we feel a greater increase in love (86%) than we do any other feeling. Joy and awe are in close contest for second, with 71% and 70% of parents experiencing more than they did in their pre-baby lives. And, here’s a cool tidbit: as your little bundle grows each month, joy does too!

But parenting isn’t all smiles and giggles. When asked about upsetting feelings, 47% reported feeling more anxious and 42% more frustrated than before they have a baby to raise. And when exhausted, bad turns to worse. The graph below shows that the most sleep-deprived parents are definitely more anxious, irritable and sad. And the real punch in the gut? Sleep-deprivation harms relationships. Parents who get less than 5 hours sleep a night are 15% more likely to feel distance from their spouse than those who get 8 hours.

Your baby’s first year is such a special time…and sleep really enhances it. Here’s the take home: Get back to 8 hours, and you’ll be rewarded with even more joy and deep fulfillment.

So, the best thing you can do is prioritize sleep. YOLO, right?

About Dr. Harvey Karp

Dr. Harvey Karp, one of America’s most trusted pediatricians, is the founder of Happiest Baby and the inventor of the groundbreaking SNOO Smart Sleeper. After years of treating patients in Los Angeles, Dr. Karp vaulted to global prominence with the release of the bestselling Happiest Baby on the Block and Happiest Toddler on the Block. His celebrated books and videos have since become standard pediatric practice, translated into more than 20 languages and have helped millions of parents. Dr. Karp’s landmark methods, including the 5 S’s for soothing babies, guide parents to understand and nurture their children and relieve stressful issues, like new-parent exhaustion, infant crying, and toddler tantrums.

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Disclaimer: The information on our site is NOT medical advice for any specific person or condition. It is only meant as general information. If you have any medical questions and concerns about your child or yourself, please contact your health provider.