• Keeping Parental Sleep Deprivation in Check

    Keeping Parental Sleep Deprivation in Check

    Keeping Parental Sleep Deprivation in Check

    Parents of infants and toddlers are finding it harder and harder to maintain a healthy sleep schedule, and sleep deprivation has number of serious physical and cognitive side effects, including depression, weight gain, moodiness, inability to concentrate, and short temper. Given the potentially serious side-effects of a lack of sleep, can anything be done to reverse this trend?

    Causes of Sleep Deprivation

    Part of the problem comes from the expectations placed on parents, who need to provide financially for the family while supporting extracurricular activities, giving homework help, and cooking healthy meals. Furthermore, the majority of parents are also full-time workers, coupled with the fact that a record number of parents now work two jobs. So it’s no surprise that sleep is sacrificed to make time for everything else but what can be done to ensure parents are getting at least 6-7 hours of sleep a night?

    Ways to Cope

    First, parents should recognize that not sleeping enough leads to underperformance in other areas of their lives so admitting the problem is the first step to solving it. Second, start thinking about friends and relatives who can take some of the pressure off so you can carve out more rest time. Third, since there’s little you can do about infants waking you up in the middle of the night working out an alternating schedule of responsibilities with your spouse or partner is essential.

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    Make Time for Sleep

    Likewise, you may need to reinvent some of your most cherished routines to allow for more sleep. As pleasurable as it is to zone out watching TV or read a good book, in the long run that time might be better spent sleeping. Do your kids keep you up later than you’d like to be? Be stricter about bedtime. Are you spending too much time cooking and cleaning up family meals? Choose simpler recipes.

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    All in all, there are steps you can take to ensure you’re sleeping enough and on the whole you should make the choice to be 100% “you” during your waking hours. Of course we know parents can be squeezed but look hard for those times when you can grab a few more hours of sleep. In fact, your family – and almost everyone else in your life – will appreciate it too.

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