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What's Behind The Lack Of Sleep For New Moms?

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) -- As any mom and she'll tell you that mommy-ing and sleep are not compatible commodities.

"Mommy-ing means no sleeping, probably for the rest of my life," Upper East Side resident Dinna Russo told CBS2's Scott Rapoport.

New research says 62 percent of women 45 or under without kids report getting seven hours of sleep, whereas only 48 percent of those who are moms can say the same.

Strangely, the change in sleep patterns is not seen among fathers.

"There are several biological differences," Director of Sleep Medicine at Meridian Health Dr. Carol Ash says. "Women's brains are different, we tend to respond to stress more strongly." She adds that if a child is fussy or experiencing a little bit of stress, women are more likely to be affected.

Ash says women additionally have different sleep challenges than men, namely maternal stresses, hormone fluctuations, menstrual cycle changes, and menopausal hot flashes.

Women should ideally get between seven and nine hours of sleep a night, according to Ash.

"We're only getting on average six hours, 41 minutes," she said, adding that the risk of having less sleep increases by 50 percent with each additional child.

Short of giving up their kids, Ash says there are a few things moms can do to help get some more sleep.

"You want the room dark," she recommends. "Get rid of the technology, the lights, avoid alcohol and caffeine before bedtime."

Unfortunately, there's not much that can be done about the crying kids.


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