Sleep deprivation contributes to relationship breakdown

Three in ten sleep-deprived British parents, who are now divorced or separated, say that lack of sleep since having their child was a factor in the breakdown of their relationship, according to a Channel 4 survey.

The survey of 2,000 parents, which coincides with the new Channel 4 series Bedtime Live, shows 44% confessed they face a daily battle to ensure their child goes to bed at a consistent time night after night . The survey shows the the average parent gets just 5 hours and 48 minutes sleep a night. The results of this sleep deprivation can be dangerous: some 45% of parents said they have nodded off in a place where they really shouldn’t have, and one in 20 owned up to falling asleep at the wheel of their car.

While only 2% of parents said they would leave their child to cry itself to sleep, one in ten (11%) admitted they would resort to bribery to get their child into bed and 4% have resorted to smacking.  Parents also admitted to pretending to be asleep so their partner would be forced to deal with the crying child (11%), shutting the bedroom door to block out the noise (11%) or simply having turned up the TV or radio to drown out their child’s cries (9%).

The survey found that children on average spend one hour and 12 minutes in front of the TV, computer or another screen directly before bedtime and modern technology in children’s bedrooms was named as a major factor in unhealthy sleeping patterns.  A fifth of parents (20%) blamed the fact that their child has a TV in their bedroom for poor sleep, the common use of tablets (17%) and games consoles (15%) around bedtime were identified as leading to difficulties getting children to go to sleep.

To help get their children to sleep, 61% of parents give their child a cuddle, 34% read bedtime stories and 23% of parents allow their child to share their bed when they have trouble sleeping.

*Bedtime Live will provide expert advice for parents struggling to get their children to sleep. It starts on 19th March at 8pm.

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