I’ve had lots of people ask how we are doing, specifically around sleep, following the recent birth of our 1st baby. So, being the geek-father I am, I thought I’d share the sleep changes with you 10 days in from a new fathers perspective.
The short answer: I am fine. Sarahs a bit tired.
Happy? Or do you want more detail?
Many of you know that I am a geek, and it will take a lot more than parenting to change that. Part of being a geek is monitoring a bunch of items of my life, sleep is one of those. For the last few months I have been using a Jawbone UP wristband to track my sleep in preparation for baby Conrad so I could see how my sleep changes after having a baby.
Not surprisingly, I’m loosing sleep.
Prior to little Conrad I actually only averaged about 7 hours sleep a night. Yes I know in theory that isn’t enough, but it works for me (no Mum, I don’t feel tired, 7hrs is fine). Following little Conrads arrival I have lost just under 50min of this sleep time (12% decrease).
The reason for this is pretty simple, the number of times I wake up in the night has doubled, spiking from an average of 1.1 times (mainly thanks to our Pixel Cat bring in rodents for us) to 2.2 times per night.
On top of this, there was also the initial 48hour window of no sleep during the birth, followed by a 9hr sleep while Sarah was in Hospital for the night (these have been excluded from the averages) which also meant a further lack of sleep.
Based on previous work, I’d expect only getting 6hr 10min sleep to be having a major impact on how I feel, but it simply isn’t, so I dug a little deeper…
The UP wristband tracks two different phases of sleep, “Deep” and “Light”. Deep sleep is measured as a period of low movement whereas light sleep is the tossing and turning phases. After a lot of tracking I’ve found the low movement deep phase gives a good indication of how I feel the next day, more so than the light sleep.
Interesting, you can see that the loss of sleep is all coming out of the light sleep phase rather than evenly across both phases of sleep.
Even more interestingly, the light sleep phase has actually reduced by an additional 26min above and beyond the loss in total sleep (Total sleep is reducing by 48min vs the 74min reduction in light sleep).
This has mean an additional 1/2hour of deep sleep compared to what I was getting previously, a 17% increase in deep sleep.
The reason for this is hard to tell conclusively from the data, but a quick eyeball of the data before and after suggests my sleep pattern often drops straight into deep sleep soon after closing my eyes, the doubling of the number of times I am woken each night has meant I am falling into this early deep sleep phase more regularly (I tried the Polyphasic Sleep Experiment last year to exploit this “early deep sleep” pattern)
The day 10 Conclusion:
I am actually doing fine. Very rarely during the days am I feeling tired despite the shorter sleep. While I am only getting just over 6hours sleep a night, my body and sleep cycles seem to be coping a lot better with it being broken sleep (i.e. being in bed the right amount of time even if not asleep. as opposed to not just being in bed long enough) as that is allowing an increase in the time spent in the deeper sleep cycles.