Sleep Deprivation- the cruel reality

Blogging is a new and exciting step for me personally. I thought I would write about one of the hardest things I believe occurs when you become a parent, sleep deprivation. I know the symptoms first hand and the fog that casts a shadow over you. For some this may only be for days, for others like myself it can be months or even years.

Sleep deprivation is one of the main drivers for me starting Sleep Effect. If I can help anyone to punch a few more zzzz’s out at night I will be one happy woman. It sounds so ridiculous that sleep is the one thing that gets me out of bed in the morning and also jump into bed at night! Sleep deprivation is real and does place a significant toll on our bodies both physically and mentally let alone our relationships.

Over the last few days I have been doing some reading about sleep deprivation. The one point I want to focus on here is that sleep deprivation does not only impact on us as the carer but it has a flow on effect to the children we are interacting with. One article I read informed me that when we are tired we are significantly less facially expressive (Minkel and colleagues 2011). What does this mean? It means we are less likely to express our happiness and sadness through our facial expressions. In particular happy facial expressions such as smiling are really hard work. Children are very intuitive and respond to our body language and cues. This means they are sensing and responding to this. What I mean is when we are happy, kids model this behaviour and it is a marker for their behaviour, habits and even verbal expressions. If we are sad or angry kids will mimic this.

I could write about sleep deprivation for days, as I believe it occurs in all of our lives at certain times. I’m sure you have all been told many tips from well-meaning mothers, grandmothers and mother in laws but I’m going to leave you my three tips for survival.

  • Sleep- any chance you have to get some rest, quiet time and hopefully sleep please utilise it. I have been known to hop into bed at 7pm if it’s going to put a smile on the dial!
  • Skip a little TV- Its okay to miss this season of the Block or whatever takes your fancy, as sleep cannot be underestimated. You can always catch up on it in todays society
  • Get a helping hand- this can be professional or your friendly neighbor who asks if they can take you baby for a walk, exploit it!
  • People want to help you and they also want to give you space.