Sleepless nights caused by crying babies ends one in three marriages, research claims
Survey of 2,000 parents found on average they get six hours sleep a night 30 per cent of those who had split up blamed sleepless nights caused by children

By
Sophie Borland

PUBLISHED:

15:04 GMT, 17 March 2013

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UPDATED:

15:06 GMT, 17 March 2013

Research claims sleepless nights caused by a crying baby is the prime reason for as many as one in three divorces or separations.

Research claims sleepless nights caused by a crying baby is the prime reason for as many as one in three divorces or separations.

As any parent will testify, sleepless nights caused by a crying baby can put a strain on the relationship.

But research claims it is the prime reason for as many as one in three divorces or separations.

A survey of 2,000 parents found that on average they get just six hours sleep a night – experts say we need at least seven.

And 30 per cent of those who had split up blamed sleepless nights caused by their children.

Some 11 per cent admitted pretending to be a sleep when their child woke-up so their partner would have to deal with them.

Another 11 per cent said they shut the door to block out the noise while nine per cent turned up the television.

One in 20 said they had become so tired they had fallen asleep behind the wheel – one mother admitted to driving 100 meters with her eyes closed.

The poll was commissioned by Channel 4 ahead of a new series screened on Tuesday night in which parents will phone-in seeking advice about sleepless children.

Tanya Byron, a psychologist who will be taking part on the show, said: ‘I see people whose children have chronic sleep problems and they’ll say things like their children get really upset if they try to send them to bed.

‘Well, I promise you, they won’t hate you in the morning when they’ve had a proper rest. Our generation struggles with discipline much more than any other but the lack of boundaries will only cause more and more difficulties.

‘From a clinical perspective, a lot of those I see in my own clinics, predominantly children, have underlying issues with not getting enough sleep, even if that isn’t the problem they are presenting with.

The poll was commissioned by Channel 4 ahead of a new series screened on Tuesday night in which parents will phone-in seeking advice about sleepless children

The poll was commissioned by Channel 4 ahead of a new series screened on Tuesday night in which parents will phone-in seeking advice about sleepless children

‘Behavioural difficulties, family issues, learning and concentration issues: there is a significant number of these common problems which have poor sleep at the heart of it.’

Earlier this year American scientists claimed that a good night’s sleep improved couples’ relationship by making them less selfish.

The research by academics from the University of Berkley, California, showed that those who slept well were more likely to be polite to one another.

Experts say adults need at least five hours’ uninterrupted sleep every day to properly concentrate and function.

It varies between individuals, however, with some needing as many as eight hours, some as few as three.

But surveys show that nearly two thirds of us aren’t getting enough and a third actually suffer from insomnia.

Bedtime Live will be shown on Channel 4 on Tuesday at 8pm