Did you accidentally call your child by your dog’s name today or put the remote control in the refrigerator?
According to sleep experts, including Richard Scuderi, MD, PhD (previously posted at sleep-deprivation.com): “insufficient rest adversely affects the frontal cortex’s ability to control speech, access memory, and solve problems.” Also: “exhaustion and fatigue affect our emotional moods, causing pessimism, sadness, stress, and anger.”
No wonder prisoners of war are often subjected to sleep deprivation: it depresses them, wears down their defenses, and confuses them!
If you are a prisoner of your own schedule, which causes a self-imposed lack of sleep, it’s time to give yourself permission to eliminate an activity or two and spend some extra time snoozing. (My mother—who had 4 children—often took one-hour afternoon naps. Now I know why!)
Most likely, if you have young children or a baby, you are losing sleep involuntarily. But it’s not just newborns who keep Mom and Dad awake. As kids grow, they’re sometimes needy at night when teething or battling nightmares. Perhaps they are even sleeping well—but you’re staying awake worrying about them!
Are you getting enough rest so you can enjoy parenting while you are awake? Is there anything you can do to insure that your body is getting the sleep it needs? Sleep is so valuable you may occasionally need to call in reinforcements—perhaps to help with the kids for an hour so you can crash for awhile.
Can you read this without Y A W N I N G?
Get some rest, if possible. Both you and your kids will benefit.
© 2005 Laurie Winslow Sargent: Excerpt from Ch. 2: Tough Stuff, p. 22 in Delight in Your Child’s Design