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'I resent parents who get to sleep.' 15 mums share how much sleep they're really getting.

Sleep and parenting is not a match made in heaven.

Parents, especially those with young children, will know this to be true.

From the night-feeding to sleep training and the many trials and tribulations around co-sleeping, chances are when it comes to raising kids and your nightly snooze, you could (and probably should) be getting more of it. Not that any of this matters to a hungry six-month-old baby or a two-year-old toddler who would rather sleep with their parents.

But if you need some reassurance that you’re not the only one who’s slowly losing their mind to sleep deprivation, we’ve got your back. We asked 20 parents to share exactly how much sleep they’re getting and how they’re getting it – and yes, it does get better.

Here’s what they said.

Watch: How to get your baby to sleep in four simple steps. Post continues below.

Video by Mamamia

Sarah

How many kids do you have and how old are they? One daughter who’s eight weeks old.

How many hours of sleep a night do you have on average? Five hours (broken).

How is the quality of your sleep? At the moment, every night is different but generally, Evie, will give us a longer stretch of sleep from about 11pm (four hours is a win!) and then smaller stretches of around two hours from there, broken up by feeds. She’s in a co-sleeper bassinet that attaches to the bed but we’ve detached it as she’s a loud sleeper and I find some distance helpful so I’m not waking every time she stirs. She tends to get a bit of digestive pain in the early morning and starts thrashing about so I tend to move her into bed to co-sleep as she’s more settled next to me. I’ve also just got used to the morning snuggles!

Does this affect your day-to-day life? How so? Absolutely. My short-term memory is completely gone. I spend hours trying to remember what we did the previous day (even the previous hour). I’m much more irritable than usual and far less able to cope with stressful situations. I did a lot of prep for the postpartum period and knew I’d have to manage my anxiety but as everyone tells you, you can’t prepare for the effects of sleep deprivation. It’s amazing what the body adjusts to though. I used to feel absolutely wrecked if I got less than seven hours sleep a night, now a stretch of four unbroken hours has me jumping out of bed ready to run a marathon.

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How much sleep do kids need
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Aimee

How many kids do you have and how old are they? I have three daughters - three and a half years, two years and 10 months.

How many hours of sleep a night do you have on average? I usually go to sleep at 10.30pm and wake to my babies at around 7am, so 8.5 hours a night

How is the quality of your sleep? Usually uninterrupted, unless a baby is teething or unwell.

Does this affect your day-to-day life? How so? I am much more able to control my behaviour because I’m not tired, I have more patience and energy to parent. On the days when we haven’t had a good nights sleep, I’m more reliant on screens to entertain them and do minimal housework.

Has your sleep changed over the years as your kids have gotten older? Yes, but only temporarily. My eldest started sleeping through the night at 10 weeks, my second at eight weeks (crazy, I know!) and my third at about five months. When I did have a baby-waking during the night for feeds, I would nap during the day (one of the advantages of having my babies close together means they all have a day-nap at the same time!) I would probably still have had six hours sleep, but interrupted.

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Leah

How many kids do you have and how old are they? I have a two-year-old, four-year-old and five-and-a-half-year-old.

How many hours of sleep a night do you have on average? When they were little it was like five hours a night. Now it’s seven-and-a-half hours.

Does this affect your day-to-day life? How so? When I had three kids under three-and-a-half there was not a lot of sleep and a whole lot of stress. Now they’re a bit older it’s only the two-year-old who might wake for the dummy once a night (I know, I know, we should lose the dummy. Daycare have been on my back about him getting rid of it. But he’s the third child and... cbf). Now it’s more just the early starts. They all wake up at 5:30am every day and always have. We are used to it but yes, a sleep-in is around 6:30am.

Has your sleep changed over the years as your kids have gotten older? Now that they're older, my mental health has improved MASSIVELY as sleep has come back into my life.

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Maryanne

How many kids do you have and how old are they? I have one son who is five months old.

How many hours of sleep a night on average? My Fitbit tells me I get an average of eight hours. Every morning when I wake up and it tells me I’ve had that much I trick myself into thinking I’m not tired. How could I be when I’ve had that much sleep, right?

How is the quality of your sleep? I wake up once a night to feed anywhere from 1am to 4am; this usually takes 20 minutes. He slept through the night for the first time last week but hasn't slept through since! We moved him into his own room at the start of January and it was an absolute game-changer for our quality of sleep. I stopped waking up to every little sigh that he makes. He also dropped two feeds through the night once he was in his own room

Does this affect your day-to-day life? How so? I have a great start and middle to my day but can’t really function after 4:30pm. I hit a wall physically and mentally but wouldn’t change it for the world!

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Emma

How many kids do you have and how old are they? I have one eight-month-old baby girl.

How many hours of sleep a night do you have on average? About six to even hours per night.

How is the quality of your sleep? My daughter sleeps in a cot in her own room. She wakes two to three times a night (on a good night) and I generally feed her back to sleep. Luckily she has never fed for very long so I’m not up for more than 15 minutes at a time but it’s still broken sleep so I definitely feel it the next day.

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Does this affect your day-to-day life? How so? This definitely affects my day to day life because some days I feel completely fine and others I am a total zombie. I'm lucky in that I've not yet gone back to work but I will be in the next few months and I have no idea how I will manage feeling so tired since I work in childcare which is quite tiring. Some days when I’ve had a particularly rough night, just going to get a coffee in the morning feels hard. Although I am getting six to seven hours per night it is broken sleep so my quality of sleep isn’t great. It used to be much much less sleep when my daughter was younger so I know it could be way worse but I'm someone who needs my eight hours a night!

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Julia

How many kids do you have and how old are they? I have a one-and-a-half-year-old girl and a four-and-a-half-year-old boy.

How many hours of sleep a night do you have on average? I’d say I get about 6 hours a night.

How is the quality of your sleep? My husband and I work on a “need” basis. Whoever really needs good quality, uninterrupted sleep gets to sleep alone and the other sleeps with the kids. Otherwise, if we’re both feeling ok, we’ll start the night as “normal”. That means the kids are in their respective beds and us in the big bed. By morning though at least one kid will be in with us.

Does this affect your day-to-day life? How so? Sleep deprivation definitely affects me. I’m pretty snappy if I have a bad night. Those days require three coffees.

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Emma M

How many kids do you have and how old are they? I have two kids. The five-year-old sleeps like a dream, now... it’s the two-year-old.

How many hours of sleep a night do you have on average? Since last May, I get about seven hours of broken sleep a night. I maybe sleep from 10pm to 1am then get two or three hours until 6 or 7am.

How is the quality of your sleep? My son does not sleep well. In fact, we have just failed sleep school.

Does this affect your day-to-day life? How so? My brain doesn’t work the way it used to. I can’t read books anymore because I can’t remember what happened. Oh and I’m totally addicted to caffeine and sugar.

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Stacey

How many kids do you have and how old are they? I have two bubs who are one-year-old and two-and-a-half years old.

How many hours of sleep a night do you have on average? We are pretty up and down at the moment but on average I get about five hours a night which is pretty broken.

How is the quality of your sleep? Our sleep would be described as broken at best. It's full-on passed out cold when we have the opportunity! We are not co-sleepers but often find a toddler climbing into our bed in the middle of the night and taking over by sleeping sideways which usually means I end up on the floor or the lounge depending on what sort of night we are having. At the moment things are starting to settle down and I get woken at least twice every night usually more. Our daughter was a full night sleeper from really young until her brother came along and then she started waking through the night. He, on the other hand, has always been a restless sleeper. I have quite regularly been up with him every hour if not more regularly throughout the night.

Does this affect your day-to-day life? How so? After really bad nights I have physical reactions to the exhaustion like headaches, food cravings and feeling like I’m not able to hydrate myself. My patience is shorter and I get frustrated a lot quicker than normal when tired. Luckily I haven’t had it take over to affect my work or ability to get to work as yet but it does affect my personal routine and my ability to fit in some me-time with a workout.

How much sleep do kids need
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Krysti

How many kids do you have and how old are they? I have a baby boy aged three and a half months. I'm also a SMC (Single Mum by Choice) and had my baby boy via donor conception (my egg with donor sperm). So it's just me and him.

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How many hours of sleep a night do you have on average? About four to six hours of reasonable quality per night. This commences at 10pm-ish to around 6am. He sleeps in a cot right next to my bed, but then sometimes that still isn't close enough to me, so we co-sleep.

How is the quality of your sleep? Currently, I'm in the stage where my babe has just started rolling to his front, but not back. It's a dreadful feeling, to say the least. Some nights I think I'm asleep, but I'm actually awake.

Does this affect your day-to-day life? How so? It definitely affects day to day life in the way my brain fails to function as before. Classic baby brain. I'm forgetful, I have to triple check appointment times, record them on both electronic devices and a handwritten calendar. Previous to this, it was all just in my head and I knew what to do.

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Rachael

How many kids do you have and how old are they? Two kids - a three-year-old girl and six-month-old boy.

How many hours of sleep a night do you have on average? At a guess, I’m getting around three to five hours a night which is broken by breastfeeding once or twice hourly.

How is the quality of your sleep? My three-year-old is a pretty good sleeper and has been from about 12 months. My six-month-old was OK from about two to four months where he would wake two to three times a night. Now he wakes four to eight times. I assume it’s developmental, but it’s not ideal.

Does this affect your day-to-day life? How so? My husband works FIFO (week on, week off) so I manage both kids half the time and I co-sleep out of sheer tiredness. I get woken up either way. I get less disturbed co-sleeping but also don’t feel like I have my own space and have had significant back and neck issues from maintaining positions in an effort to not wake up the baby.

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Has your sleep changed over the years as your kids have gotten older? I have less patience and I feel very guilty that my kids aren’t getting the best version of me. Particularly my three-year-old.

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Nicolle

How many kids do you have and how old are they? One son (9 weeks old).

How many hours of sleep a night do you have on average? 3 to 5 hours of broken sleep.

Does this affect your day-to-day life? How so? It makes me more irritable and emotional! And also resentful of other people who get to sleep. Also, I’ve had to not drive some days because it’s crazy how foggy you can be! Once I drove when I had only had about three hours and my reflexes were really slow. I didn’t feel safe driving so if I’ve had a few rough nights in a row I try not to drive.

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Kate

How many kids do you have and how old are they? I have a two-year-old and a six-week-old.

How many hours of sleep a night do you have on average? I’m averaging about three to four hours of very broken sleep a night. Last night he woke every 45 mins.

Does this affect your day-to-day life? How so? Thank god I’m currently on maternity leave because there is NO way I could function at work right now (Emergency Department nurse)! I can hardly string a sentence together. In saying that, before children, I would never have thought you could semi-function on this amount of sleep, but I get up every day and deal with a crazy two-year-old and FIFO husband. Before the youngest was born I was getting about eight hours a night. My two-year-old was sleeping from 7pm to 7am most nights without waking.

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Kylie

How many kids do you have and how old are they? Two kids: an 18-month-old and a four-year-old.

How many hours of sleep a night do you have on average? Four hours and 15 mins (on average according to my Apple Watch).

How is the quality of your sleep? Most often my sleep is broken by one child or the other or both sometimes waking and needing assistance to get back to sleep.

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Does this affect your day-to-day life? How so? I often have to commute two hours in each direction (driving) for work and some nights I’m operating on as little as two-and-a-half hours. As you can imagine, this could literally be deadly. It also puts an incredible amount of strain on my relationship both with my husband and with my children because my tolerance levels are rock bottom and body is barely capable of breathing let alone regulating my emotions at times.

It’s also having a significantly detrimental effect on my physical health as well. I currently need to lose 20 to 25 kilos and cannot get my mind around that because it is constantly craving high-calorie foods so that it can function.

Has your sleep changed over the years as your kids have gotten older? My daughter was the most amazing sleeper and until the age of two-and-a-half and would sleep 12 to 13 hours without any help. Rarely does she sleep through the night or beyond 5am these days which means she is also feeling the negative effects of sleep deprivation. Needless to say, life feels like walking through a swamp on a daily basis at the moment.

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Alysha

How many kids do you have and how old are they? I'm a solo mum (by choice through IVF and donor sperm) to a 13-month-old boy.

How many hours of sleep a night do you have on average? He goes to sleep at around 9pm and usually wakes up before midnight, then again at 3am. Then he’ll either wake again at 6am and go back to sleep until he wakes at 9am. Or he’ll sleep from 3am til 8am and then be awake. Moral of the story is that I rarely get a block of more than three to four hours of sleep. These wakes are where he screams and needs a bottle or settling. I’m not counting the ones where he just cries a little and quickly self-settles. I often don’t get to sleep until 11pm after doing chores etc so I get around seven hours sleep, but made up of a couple of blocks. I may be up anywhere from five minutes to one hour during his wakes, although I haven’t endured a one hour wake in a few weeks so fingers crossed these have ceased!

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How is the quality of your sleep? He sleeps in his cot. We co-slept for a month or so when he was maybe around seven months. He was a really bad sleeper (up every hour) and I just needed sleep. I wouldn’t do it now because he’d fall (more likely jump or leap) out of the bed.

Does this affect your day-to-day life? How so? I leave for work at 6:30am. Grandma takes over (I put the monitor in her room when I leave as she lives with us - she has lived with me for 10+ years since she fought cancer and couldn’t work anymore). I work four days a week as a lawyer, returning to work when he was around six months old. I have one day off with my son. He goes to daycare for two days and is with grandma for two.

My lack of sleep / broken sleep makes concentrating at work really difficult. I drink a V at my desk every morning (my version of coffee) and hit the sugar in the early arvo. I’m very active with my son so I’m not unfit, but the lack of sleep over the past 13 months has caught up with me physically. My legs are often heavy and feel tired and tackling stairs can sometimes be difficult. I didn’t realise how much a lack of sleep could affect you physically.

I also lack patience with everyone except my son. Somehow I have endless patience for him, regardless of what he may be doing. Must be the motherly instinct? Despite the lack of sleep, I’d do it again in a heartbeat as my son is the greatest gift.

How much sleep do kids need
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Jess

How many kids do you have and how old are they? Four kids - They're seven, five and two twins who are almost three.

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How many hours of sleep a night do you have on average? About six and a half hours a night.

How is the quality of your sleep? 90 per cent of the time the kids are sleeping through which is a huge improvement on the last five and a half years.

Does this affect your day-to-day life? How so? Absolutely. Sleep deprivation is tough. Although you 'get used' to feeling tired, some days are incredibly difficult. It's hard to explain because everyone deals differently. But you're definitely more irritable, have less patience, mood swings, brain fog, cravings for quick energy fixes.

Things are much more manageable when you have good quality sleep.

Has your sleep changed over the years as your kids have gotten older? My first child was perfect and slept through the night from four months old. He lulled me into a false sense of security because his sister was pretty much allergic to sleep.

The first six months were standard for a new baby and then the horror started. She averaged about four hours of broken sleep a night until she was two. Then I had twins and I entered a level of tiredness I didn't know existed. I had patches of such extreme fatigue, I was hallucinating. Some days I couldn't string a sentence together. I'd get into bed and my muscles would spasm, making it difficult to even sleep when I had the chance. One was a much worse sleeper than the other but thankfully, they're both sleeping well now.

How much sleep do kids need
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If you're a parent, how much sleep do you get? Tell us in a comment below.

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