Having a newborn means midnight feedings and diaper changes round the clock and as if that’s not enough to deal with, new research reveals those sleepless nights can also speed up aging for new moms. A new study from UCLA suggests a lack of sleep in the first six months after a baby is born can age new moms a lot faster.
So how much are we talking? According to the research, regularly getting less than seven hours of sleep a night can leave a woman’s body between three and seven years older! Study author Dr. Judith Carroll analyzed changes in the blood of mothers of one-year-olds, looking for tiny changes to their DNA. The results show that the lack of sleep for moms in the first six months of a baby’s life not only speeds up aging, but can raise the risk of health issues and age-related illnesses as well.
Dr. Carroll says this could be because taking care of a newborn is especially taxing on the body. She urges new moms to get sleep any chance they get and to enlist help from grandparents and other caregivers when they can. And dads of newborns aren’t off the hook here - Dr. Carroll thinks they’ll also be aged by a lack of sleep, just not as much if their partners are doing most of the childcare.
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