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Desperately Seeking Sleep

Dreaming Of Sleep

While most babies start sleeping through the night by 6 months of age, it doesn't always follow that parents do the same. Parents usually settle into a more regular sleep pattern a few weeks later, says Mindell, but that doesn't mean a return to the blissful slumber they remember from their pre-child days.When the National Sleep Foundation questioned 1,004 adults about their sleep habits for its 2001 Sleep in America poll, those with children reported that they slept less during the week, had more daytime sleepiness, and more frequent insomnia than those without. In fact, 76 percent of adults with children under 18 reported frequent sleep problems.

For most parents, time eases the pain of sleepless nights. Babies  -- and the tiny bellies that make night feedings necessary  -- grow faster than you can imagine, and early months soon become a bleary-eyed memory. "Would we be better parents, spouses, workers if we were getting more sleep?" asks Mindell. "Absolutely. But we get through it. We're quite resilient and we function." In the meantime, taking your own sleep needs as seriously as you take your baby's will help make everyone happier.