Parents make up a fair share of sleep-deprived adults in the US, and they are no doubt familiar with the struggles of getting less sleep. These struggles can make it hard to be a good parent. The following are some of the effects of insufficient sleep and the different ways they make parenting more challenging.
Inadequate sleep saps your energy
It’s essential you get enough quality sleep to keep your energy stores well stocked to keep up with the energy level of your child.
Less sleep means more health issues
Sleep deprivation makes you moody and emotional
A sleep study conducted by Tel Aviv University researchers explains that sleep deprivation adversely affects the neurological mechanisms that help the brain regulate emotions. This neurological disruption compromises the brain’s ability to distinguish things that are important from those that are not, which in turn makes everything seem significant even when they are actually trivial.
This is the reason why sleep deprived people are prone to mood swings and emotional outbursts that are sometimes triggered by the most inconsequential of things. This is also the reason why sleep deprived parents and brooding unpredictable teenagers are almost always a combustible mix. If you are getting sufficient sleep, dealing with a hormonal teenager will be much easier, especially if you apply the tips shared in our previous post Parenting a Stressed Out Teenager. One of our top tips, “practice laughter medicine,” is much harder if you are tired from lack of sleep.
Insufficient shut-eye makes you negative
Lack of sleep might actually be compromising your overall perception of the world. Sharon Nichols Keith wrote an article entitled ‘Slanger Management’ on Leesa which discusses how sleep deprived people are twice as likely to form strong negative memories, with a distinct possibility that such memories are remembered negatively simply because of the neurological impairments brought about
by inadequate sleep. A study showed that people with sleep deprivation were twice as likely to form negative memories. As a parent this can have an affect on how you remember time spent with your children. Rather than always looking for the positive memories, you may focus on the negative which could have a knock-on effect on how you respond to your children in the present.
Less sleep impairs your judgment
Be sure to follow some important practices to get a good night’s sleep on a consistent basis! Here are some tips:
- Be sure you have a quality mattress!
- Turn off all electronics an hour before you turn in to give your brain a chance to un-wind.
- Go to bed and wake up at the same time every night to establish proper sleep rhythms.
- Make sure the room is cool and dark to allow your body and brain to relax.
- Wear comfortable sleep-wear at night.
- Avoid caffeine or alcohol for 4 hours prior to bed time.
- Exercise daily – but not right before you turn in!
If you need more information on how to combat insomnia please see this article full of helpful tips and information!
Parenting is challenging in itself. Don’t make it harder by depriving yourself of a good night’s sleep.
Great, practical tips I can share with clients, friends, family- anyone!
Powerful info! The first 2 years of my daughter’s life I was super sleep deprived bc of her sleep issues. It was awful! I felt terrible, my mood was horrible, and I was super impatient. This helps explain why it was so overwhelming.
Thanks Amber! Glad this was helpful!
helpful tips! I great reminder to turn off those electronics.
There’s an Irish saying that “most problems feels a bit better after a good night’s sleep and a cup of tea!”
Great post with loads of useful links 🙂
This is great! I don’t know any parent who’s never experienced sleep deprivation. Thank you for the reminder of how important sleep is.
Thanks for the tips on sleep. I can definitely attest to the effects of lack of sleep when you’re a parent, which sometimes comes with the territory (especially if my little one wakes me up at 2 am because she can’t find her lovey.