Stay-at-home mums wear Fitbits to prove just how much they do

Settling the debate: new study compares stay-at-home mums to working dads. Who does the most and sleeps the least?

"What have you done all day?" is one of the most frustrating things that stay-at-home mums hear. According to the Office for National Statistics, 1.86 million mothers are stay-at-home mums. Many feel like they’re forever justifying what they do, from bringing up the children to cooking, cleaning, tidying, doing the school run, food shopping and more. Whereas many working dads argue they do just as much, if not more, because they have the physically straining duty of being on their feet all day at work.

Because of this, we at SpaSeekers conducted a study to find out who does the most and who really gets the least sleep.

The study used Fitbit trackers on 10 new mums and new dads for 4 weeks, observing their daily steps and cardio activity, as well as their sleep patterns.

Mum holding child cooking and on the phone

Study shows that mums are getting much less sleep than dads and waking up 29 times in a night

Having a child is one of the most beautiful things anyone can experience, but, once your baby is born, you know that those long lie-ins on a Sunday and 10-hour kips are long gone.

In fact, you might be more sleep deprived after having a child than you expected. According to National Sleep Foundation, 76% of parents, both mums and dads, have frequent sleep problems. But whose sleep patterns are most affected? Who wakes up the most during the night to see to the baby, and for how long?

Our study reveals that new mums get just 3 hours of undisturbed sleep a night, while new dads get 4.2 hours.

However, looking at how much of this is classed as deep sleep, the data shows that mums are getting far less than dads.

Infograph showing difference between mum and dad active minutes in a day

New mums were found to be getting just 48 minutes of deep sleep a night. Meanwhile, dads were having nearly double that – their average was 1 hour and 22 minutes.

Deep sleep has a number of benefits for your health, including restoring your energy, keeping your immune system strong and helping to repair your muscle tissues and bones. Plus, it helps both your short-term and long-term memory.

So, why are mums getting less deep sleep than dads? Being woken up in the night is not strange for new parents, but exactly how many times do they wake up and for how long?

New mums were found to be waking up around 29 times in a night for 1 hour and 12 minutes on average. The Fitbit tracker data for new dads revealed they were waking up 26 times in a night, which is nearly as much as the mums, but for a much shorter period.

Infograph showing difference between mum and dad wakeups in the night

New dads stay up typically for just 20 minutes throughout the night, with one dad staying awake for an average of just 3 minutes.

With mums staying up for so long at night, it’s easy to see one reason why they might not be having as much deep sleep as their partners.

As well as times when parents would get up in the night to look after the baby, whether that’s feeding them, changing them or trying to lull them back to sleep, the Fitbit trackers take shorter wake up periods into account. This could include rolling over to the other side of the bed or opening one eye to check if the baby is still asleep.

The most any parent woke up was 32 times for a total of 1 hour and 44 minutes.

Who’s doing more throughout the day? Study shows that mums and dads do nearly the same amount

The 4-week Fitbit experiment tracked the steps and cardio activity of both new mums and dads to finally prove who actually does the most. For dads, this could include walking between meetings, to work at different sites or just generally to get their day-to-day done. Meanwhile, mothers could be running around after their baby, cleaning the house, cooking or doing other chores and daily activities.

Stay-at-home mums were found to walk approximately 10,382 steps a day, whereas working dads were taking 9,497 steps.

Infograph showing difference between mum and dad steps in a day

The study tracked just Monday-Friday activity, so we can’t say who’s most active at the weekend. Plus, although mums generally walked more steps, there were days where dads overtook and mums were less active.

Mothers and fathers alike agreed that both parents are just as involved as each other in raising their children, but stay at home mums proved they don’t just sit at home all day and sleep when baby sleeps.

Jason Goldberg, Director of SpaSeekers says: "his was a friendly study between 10 new parent couples to prove just how much stay at home mums do. All participants show that having a child isn’t easy for mums or dads, and all parents are superheroes."


The study was conducted from 15th November to 15th December 2018 (4 weeks) using 10 new mums and dads as participants.

Fitbit Charge 2 was used to track daily activity and an average was created across the course of the study.

All participants had children under the ages of 18 months old, whilst some had up to 3 children under the age of 5.

Working dads had jobs within a variety of industries, including painting and decorating, marketing (office work), business analysis, construction and electrics.

About the author

'Since 1989, SpaSeekers has been helping customers find their perfect spa experience. All packages come with a best price guarantee at over 500 of the UK's leading spas.'

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