Parents Need Sleep, Too.


Sleep is important for parents, too! From myBabySleepGuide.com

I'm not sure what it is.

Maybe it's because I'm getting older. Or maybe it's that fourth child thrown into the mix of things.

Whatever the case, I've been noticing some things more about myself lately. I've noticed that exercising regularly keeps my spirits up and that if I don't have enough adventure in life I start to get restless.

And I've also noticed that I get pretty cranky when I don't get enough sleep.

This isn't exactly rocket science, you might be thinking. Everyone knows that when someone doesn't get enough sleep they get cranky. I mean, isn't that what I keep saying about babies all the time? Isn't this what your mom told you when you were a child?

The thing is, I've always known that I'm not at my best when I don't get enough sleep (think, late nights, teenage years and sharing a bathroom with siblings!). I just hadn't really noticed it with a fully mature non-teenage brain until recently. The crankiness emitting from me now when I don't get enough sleep is almost palpable. I try really hard to be patient with my children (and husband-after 13 years I am no longer in newlywed lala land). I try whispering instead of yelling when I think I might just about pop after one of them whines or bugs their sibling (for the millioned time) or spills their cup of water on the floor (don't cry over spilled milk?- ha!). I try hard to show affection when all I feel is frustration. But as much as I think I'm tricking them with my nice-parent facade, I'm sure I'm not.

The kids can tell when the last thing I feel like doing is being a mom. When I just want to take a nap,  hide in my room and be left alone.  And when I am forcing my affection and attention.

I HATE feeing like this. It isn't always sleep related, because parenting can be hard and draining and just plain overwhelming at times, but lack of sleep always adds negatively to the picture. And lately, I can seriously feel every minute of lost sleep in my interactions towards my children.

I have being trying really hard to make sleep a priority in my life. For my sake, and for the sake of my children.

They deserve the best mom that I can be.

It can be so hard to get enough sleep! As far as I'm concerned, adults are just as bad about being wise with their sleep as young children and adolescents. I even have this bizarre habit of staying up even later doing odd things that need to get done whenever I find myself going to sleep later than usual. It's really weird. It's like I think 'hey, it's really late, might as well be really, really late!'

Getting enough sleep, or at least better sleep than you've been getting, is something that I challenge you parents out there to start doing. I've had some parents tell me that they do perfectly fine on almost no sleep. But I promise you, you will be even more amazing with more sleep. There's no way you couldn't be. You're children (and spouse) deserve your best you. And you deserve to feel and function at your best too.

This might mean that it's time to prioritize life a bit, to look at your screen time and maybe to sleep train (because sleep training is for the whole family). Better sleep is sometimes hard to get, but I bet most of you can get it! If you're struggling with sleep habits for yourself, I wrote a post about this a while back that you can find here.


If you've got some tips on how you've been able to get more sleep or on how better sleep has helped you, please comment below!

3 comments :

  1. Hi Rachel, my little girl is 11 weeks old and she used to sleep pretty well till about 2 or 3 weeks ago. She cries as soon as we even try to put her down in her bassinet. During the day she only naps for about 30-40 mins at a time and then wakes up screaming. She would sleep for 2 hrs is she's in the carrier or someone holds her on their chest. That someone is usually me and I'm exhausted! I don't wanna encourage bad sleeping habits by letting her sleep like this. I have to feed her to sleep at night, it's the only way she gets drowsy and sleepy enough for me to put her down. She's quite a slow eater, it takes her about 50 mins to finish both sides and she gets really sleepy afterwords so it's hard to follow eat wake sleep routine. She yawns during feeding and a few minutes after she's done she starts screaming because she's tired, no other tired cues, it's straight to crying. I don''t want to have to keep nursing/cuddling her to sleep, it's exhausting and I need some time for myself!
    Another problem is night sleeping. It's nearly impossible to get her to sleep early (7pm bedtime) she usually goes down around 10, after hours of crying, fussing, feeding. She sleeps for 2-3 hours, wakes to feed for an hour and then sleeps for another 1,5-2 hours. I've tried shush and pat but it doesn't seem to work as she gets frustrated the longer I do it for.

    Any advice will be more than appreciated as I'm really close to losing it.

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    Replies
    1. Misha,
      I'm sorry you are having such a tiring time! Babies sure can be a lot of work. So fun but so exhausting sometimes! Take a look at the 0-3 month sleep guide post under sleep by age tab above. Take things a step at a time-that post goes over a lot! My guess with the length of eating is that she's half sleeping while she eats. Just something to consider. best,
      rachel

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  2. Hi. I'm hoping you have time to give me some encouragement and advice. My little guy is 11.5mo and I've done my best to follow everything you've recommended that has worked for my family since our guy was 1.5mo old when we had aweful short naps after difficult time getting him to sleep. I know I've also fallen into some accidental parenting and sleep props out of desperation, but our adorable son is just naturally a awful sleeper it seems despite everything I do.
    He seems to have no natural sleep drive and I have to help him relax enough that he falls asleep. I usually do this close to the end of the recommended awake time window because it's more likely to be successful, but sometimes I can tell he's tired and crabby and am successful sooner. He fights sleep at every nap bedtime, and middle of the night. For probably 6 months now, a "good day" is 2hrs total of naps and 11hrs of night sleep with 1wake up. Most days we're at less than an hr of nap and 9ish broken hours of night sleep. On bad nights he's up 2-4x's taking about an hour to get back to sleep each time. On good nights he's up 1x and is back down after about 20min of help, but still usually at least an hour. I do not rush in, but I also know once he's awake he can't get himself back to sleep or calm himself at all. No matter how long I leave him or how many days we stick to CIO, he wont self soothe.
    I work 36hrs (3-4 days or evenings/week), so it's tough to live on chronically low and interrupted sleep. Also daycare is awful at providing any consistency to routine or schedule. But the most impossible part is my husband. He gets up with the baby about 1x/week and only for 15-20 min, then he gives up. Last night my husband was crying "whats wrong with our baby!? this isn't normal!! no one else's baby is like this at 1yr old!" I told him there's nothing wrong and he's just a baby. Its so discouraging because he has done no research and is going off of what his mom says and his 2 friends with babies. Plus he's not helping with him overnight really at all, so he has no right to be annoyed.
    So I'm curious what %of babies are still this difficult at almost a year old and at what point is something "wrong" with baby? I should mention I've been a pediatric/neonatal nurse for 8years, so I'm not just stupidly missing sick child signs. How long can a baby be left to CIO and at what point is it abuse/neglect? I love him so much but feel like I must be doing something wrong. I wanted 3-4 kids, but this first one makes me regret becoming a mom some days.

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