Do you feel exhausted from waking up throughout the night, just to replace your little one’s dummy? Is your child unable to self-settle and needs your assistance and comfort?
This may sound familiar to you. But mothers often underestimate the importance of getting adequate sleep and the overwhelming feelings of exhaustion and desperation that lack of sleep can bring.
We all know that it is almost impossible to function at our best when we have had little, broken, or no sleep at all. Lack of sleep can be linked to health issues such as obesity, diabetes, heart disease and poor work function. It can also affect the safety of those around us.
Have you ever forgotten to strap your baby in their car seat or almost fallen asleep at the wheel?
Studies have shown that exhaustion can be compared to drunk driving. Whilst all of us wouldn’t dream of driving after a few glasses of wine, we still manage to get behind the wheel exhausted which can have devastating consequences.
There is plenty of scientific evidence explaining the importance of young children’s sleep, however, there is little data about how parents’ sleep. We can easily agree that many of us just don’t sleep enough.
The quality of your sleep or lack of begins before your baby is born – a full bladder, trying to turn over, indigestion from lying horizontal and the list goes on… nights can be tough. Sleep deprivation becomes a dreaded part of motherhood that very few can bypass. This can affect parents of newborns, preschoolers or even teenagers.
As a parent we must note, that it’s not just us that suffers when you are constantly exhausted, the entire family will feel it. Getting enough sleep will make you a better, more patient mother… minus the frayed fuse.
Some tips for surviving sleep deprivation:
- When you have young kids, go to bed early as often as you can, you want to avoid the build up of sleep debt.
- Nap when you can, better still if your kids are sleeping, sleep when they do.
- If it proves too difficult to sleep during the week due to endless home responsibilities, try and swap with your partner should he be around on weekends. Alternatively ask a friend or relative if they can help out.
- Just like the rituals for your children before bed, find some that work for yourself, perhaps you can dim the lights and read or meditate. Try and refrain from using any electronic devices before you go to bed.
- Remember that diet and exercise is on par with the need for sleep.
- Put aside the long To-Do list and get the extra sleep instead. Wake up refreshed and function at an optimum.
- If your child has a consistent problem sleeping through the night, seek help if you need to from a sleep consultant before the problem worsens.
Think of what your sleep is costing you!
Cheryl – The Sleep Coach
Cheryl Fingleson is a paediatric sleep consultant. As a mother of two, she very well knows the feelings of agony and desperation when you have a child that struggles to settle and sleep. She doesn’t believe in leaving babies or children to cry it out, nor in the practices of controlled crying. Her approach is to empower parents with the right tools and techniques to teach their babies and children to go to sleep calmly, happily and independently. For more sleep tips and advice, please visit www.thesleepcoach.com.au, and like the facebook page.