NEW YORK — It’s no secret being a parent can leave many adults desperate for sleep, but a new study finds parents also walking around in a daze even when they’re wide awake. The average American parent loses nearly 4,000 hours to “brain fog” while raising their child.
A survey of 2,000 American parents over 30 reveals this breaks down to about 219 hours for every year of parenting. The average respondent gets so distracted that they lose focus in up to three tasks a day — resulting in a loss of 36 minutes daily. Six in 10 blame “the blur” of not getting enough sleep and having low energy as the reason they don’t always properly hydrate (44%), miss meals (33%), and even forget birthdays (28%).
Two in five rely on their kids’ activities just to keep track of which day of the week it is. On an average weekday, respondents feel most energized around 11 a.m., but their energy begins to crash just three hours later. Two-thirds find their energy levels are usually depleted around the same time each day — 2 p.m.
Parents have a permanent case of ‘the Mondays’
Of the 43 percent of respondents who work from home or in an office, more than one in three (35%) get the “Monday blues,” naming it the most hated day of the week, with another 46 percent saying Monday “just feels long.”
If you really want a successful meeting, then make sure to avoid scheduling it during lunch time. Working parents say the most unacceptable time to schedule a call or meeting is between 12:30 p.m. and 1:40 p.m., which is also the time they usually take for themselves during a busy day.
Meetings can be a drain, as the average working parent says it only takes three a day before fatigue sets in. By the time Wednesday arrives, energy levels are so low, one in five respondents begin to have trouble recalling details from the start of their week.
Even caffeine can’t cure everything
To improve their energy or mental focus, half of the respondents turn to coffee and more than one in three rely on energy drinks. Still, nearly six in 10 (58%) sometimes feel like they’ll never feel fully energized again.
“Parents, especially those who are working, are juggling multiple tasks and so don’t always take the time to address their health needs,” says a spokesperson from MitoQ, a cell health company, in a statement. “They’d like to have more resilience, but they don’t know how to get sustained energy and focus, and therefore often turn to things like coffee to get them through.”
Nearly two-thirds (64%) add they would be more effective at balancing work and parenthood if they had more energy. With more energy or better mental focus, the average parent would prioritize being more available to have fun with their family (53%) and living a healthier life (49%). Another 46 percent say they’d participate in hobbies and other activities more regularly.
“The benefits of replenishing your energy throughout the week extend beyond the workplace,” the spokesperson adds. “With the average parent wasting 219 hours a year, imagine what they could achieve with the energy to power through their tasks.”