14/08/2014 16:48 BST | Updated 22/05/2015 10:12 BST

Parents' Relationship Break-Ups Blamed On Sleep Deprivation

Babies' sleepless nights to blame for one in three relationship breakups

One in three relationship break-ups may be caused by crying babies who do not sleep through the night, according to recent research.

The study – which was commissioned by Channel 4 for its new parenting show Bedtime Live – spoke to 2000 parents about their children's sleeping habits.

They found that most mums and dads with a young child get about six hours sleep a night – an hour less than the recommendation for good heath. Experts say that adults should ideally get seven hours shut-eye, with at least five hours uninterrupted sleep necessary to function and concentrate the following day.

The study found that a staggering 30 per cent of the surveyed parents who had divorced or separated blamed their kids' sleepless or interrupted nights for the relationship breakdown.

It also revealed the methods desperate parents turn to to escape their children's night-time rages and sleeplessness. Eleven per cent admitted that they shut the doors to block out the noise of their crying child, while nine per cent turned up the TV to drown them out.

Another 11 per cent confessed to pretending to be asleep once their child started its nocturnal noise-making, so the other parent would have to deal with it.

Professor Tanya Byron, who will be dishing out advice on Bedtime Live, said that discipline and boundary issues are often to blame for bedtime mayhem.

"Our generation struggles with discipline much more than any other," she told the Daily Mail. "But the lack of boundaries will only cause more and more difficulties."

"I see people whose children have chronic sleep problems and they'll say things like their children get really upset if they try to send them to bed," she said. "Well, I promise you, they won't hate you in the morning when they've had a proper rest."

"Behavioural difficulties, family issues, learning and concentration issues: there is a significant number of these common problems which have poor sleep at the heart of it," she added.

Bedtime Live starts Tuesday at 8pm on Channel 4.

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