Sleep. Simple enough. A facet of every human’s daily life. We eat. We breath. We sleep. Many of us may not give enough thought to it.
But we should.
Sleeping is a survival need just as eating and good health. Would we choose not to eat for a day or days? With the exception of a specific fast or diet I suppose. If we’re sick, do we do nothing? Not typically. We take medicine, rest, go to the doctor, etc. So why should sleep be any different?
We NEED sleep!
It is vital to our being and our functioning.
Some may need more or less than another, but only you know what you really need (not what you think you can tolerate). For example, my husband only needs 6 hours or so. He can have more at times, but he’s pretty “ok” if not. I on the other hand am not that person. I need at least 8-9. I can survive on less, but can I function? Not really.
The other factor significant to the amount is the quality. Waking several times during an 8 hour stretch is not quality. Sleep suffers and we feel it later in the day.
So why bring all this up? I bring all this up to say IT IS IMPORTANT. Our mood, our emotions, reactions, and motivation can all be a direct result of sleep or lack thereof. We may blame it on this circumstance or that situation, but many times a negative mood may be simply due to the fact that we are not rested!
Now back to functioning. As a parent, it is vital that we function to the best of our ability for the care of our little ones. How can we give them our best if we are not at our best? We often feel guilty for not tending to their every need at night, but what we fail to see is how our lack of sleep only makes us less effective as a parent during the day. It benefits our children the most when we sleep!
Okay. Got it. Sleep. How do we do that well? There are several things to consider in getting good sleep such as what our routine is at bedtime, falling asleep to blue light or not, the time we fall asleep, what we eat or drink before we go to bed, etc. But as a parent, we can only sleep best when our children sleep!
Ummm. Right. So how do we do that?
I’m not a sleep training expert, so I won’t dive into a lengthy discussion on methods of sleep training. However, I will provide some useful resources below and definitely suggest you look into the best steps for your family. One thing to know is that IT WILL NOT BE EASY. IT WILL BE HARD. So go into it knowing that off the bat. But the benefits outweigh the challenge.
In summary, do not feel guilty for being tired! Instead, go take a nap and get that energy back!
A little sleep humor and encouragement from me to you:
CLICK HERE TO WATCH VIDEO: For the Sleep Deprived Parent
1. Healthy Sleep Habits Happy Child By Dr. Weissbluth