You’ve heard it time and time again: As an adult, you should be getting seven to eight hours of sleep every night. The problem is, that is a habit that’s challenging to maintain, especially if you’re a new parent.
As soon as you bring your newborn home and begin your journey of parenthood, fathers tend to lose 13 minutes of sleep each night on average, while mothers lose at least an hour each night. To make things worse, your pre-pregnancy sleeping habits won’t normalize until your child is about six years old. It’s not enough to look after only your child’s needs; it’s also crucial to address your sleeping habits now so that you can show up for your family in your best self.
What happens when you’re sleep deprived?
If you were struggling with your sleeping habits before you became a parent, it might just worsen if you don’t set the proper boundaries while balancing your time for yourself and your child. Sleep deprivation affects many aspects of your life, including health, mood, and longevity in the long run. Here’s a quick rundown of what to expect when you’re perpetually sleep deprived:
You become more sensitive or irritable
If you start your morning by complaining that you wish you had more sleep, it’s likely that this mood will snowball throughout the day and render you irritable. This might cause you to lash out at coworkers, spouses, and even your kids over the simplest concerns.
You’re more anxious than usual
Apart from irritability, you might wake up with bouts of anxiety that could linger throughout the day. Poor sleep births negative moods, including anxiety, depression, worry, etc. If you’re already suffering from mental health issues, sleep deprivation could exacerbate them.
You’re slow to react
Another dangerous side effect of sleep deprivation is that the communication between your brain cells become sluggish and slower than normal. This means that you react more slowly when sleep deprived as compared to if you had seven to eight hours of shut-eye. This could be detrimental especially when you should be alert and clear headed, especially when looking after your children.
How to prioritize a good night’s sleep as a parent
Remember: Raising a child requires energy, and energy can only be replenished through rest. If you’re a new parent, you might consider trying the following:
Ask for help
Sometimes, the lack of sleep does take a toll on your body, at which point you don’t need to push yourself to the brink of breaking down. Instead, be vulnerable and ask for help if you truly need it. Before anyone else, be sure to ask help from your partner. Communicate your needs to one another and create a schedule to divide and conquer your child-rearing tasks.
Power nap when you can
Specifically, when your baby naps, take a nap too. Let’s say you didn’t get enough sleep last night, but you’re in charge of taking care of your kids during the day. Use that opportunity to get some quality shut-eye, no matter how short it might be. Taking naps has been proven beneficial to lowering stress levels, so once your baby wakes up, you’ll likely feel energized to take on the rest of the day.
Create a conducive sleep environment
If you remember being so careful picking out what to buy for your baby’s nursery to make it look cozy and comfortable, you might consider doing the same for your bedroom. Make sure to keep it cool, quiet, and dark for an ideal sleeping environment. In addition, take turns with your partner on overnight parenting duties so that only one of you takes care of the baby when he or she wakes up.
Another way you can rest easy is by ensuring that your family is covered in times of emergency like with Maxicare EReady and EReady Advance. As a prepaid emergency healthcare plan, you can ask for immediate medical assistance at participating hospitals for illnesses or injuries that require a visit to the emergency room. Find out more about Maxicard EReady and EReady Advance by visiting the Maxicare website.