There is a plethora of information out there and services targeted at helping babies to sleep better. Why? Because we know it is important for babies to develop a good sleep routine. It is just as important for parents to be getting enough sleep too.
Most adults require about 7-8 hours sleep a night however this is an average and some people function well on 5 whereas others really need more like 10 hours. If you are experiencing anxiety, depression, difficulty concentrating, or feeling irritable, it may be a sign that you need more sleep than you are getting.
The research suggests that sleep deprived parents find it harder to express joy. Specifically studies indicate it is harder for sleepy parents to form a happy facial expression (Minkel & Colleagues, 2011), they are more likely to appear sad (red eyes, drooping eyelids, pale skin, wrinkles around the eyes) (Sundelin & Colleagues, 2013), and their voices convey less positive emotion with fewer words that are more monotonic (McGlinchey et al, 2011).
Caring for babies and young children is incredibly demanding and tests you in ways never imagined. Your resilience, tolerance and coping skills are put to the test and it is so important that you take the time and energy needed to care for yourself as well as your child.
Most parents report that lack of sleep during the first few years is one of their biggest challenges. Sometimes it can feel that as soon as you have found a routine something changes and you are starting again to try to re-establish it. Often the chance of getting a good sleep is out of your hands and is subject to work schedules, children’s health and the inevitable shifting of routines as your child develops physically, socially and emotionally.
Don’t be afraid to ask for help. Talk to your partner, friends, family and/or community services about what is going on for you. Often someone can help and in fact will feel happy to be useful. Take this time to get some extra sleep yourself, or try a yoga/ meditation class, you may even fall asleep during the class. Don’t worry, it happens ALL THE TIME, and it’s a great sign that you took time out to look after yourself and let yourself relax.
You may also like to read: