Sleep is an essential biological need like food and water. Without sleep we cannot function. We all know this, yet we shortchange ourselves night after night. Work, family, social commitments, baby waking at night- the reasons for missed sleep are endless! We’ll explain the harmful effects of sleep deprivation on your family, and how a good night’s sleep is the key to a happy family.
The body and mind need sleep
Lack of sleep affects us all differently. A few nights of broken sleep makes Jane feel unwell and become ill. Kate grows irritable and has trouble coping with life. Even if you don’t feel the effects of sleep loss, experts warn that damage can be happening at a cellular level. The National Institutes of Health tells us that getting regular quality sleep protects our mental and physical health, and keeps us safe.
As if that wasn’t enough, did you know that lack of sleep is linked to weight gain? Now that’s a reason to hit the hay! The Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health has shown the link between obesity and decreased sleep, both in children and adults. And this isn’t just for the severely sleep deprived, regularly missing an hour or two per night can lead to weight gain.
Are you getting enough?
Infants and children need sleep
- Adequate, restorative sleep is necessary for the rapid brain growth and developmental changes that occur in a young child’s life through early adulthood.
- Infants and children who sleep well show improved learning, better problem solving, longer attention span and more emotional regulation than those not sleeping well.
- Sleep deprivation effects in children include increased mood swings and impulsivity, trouble getting along with others and lower school performance.
Parents need sleep
- Sufficient sleep leads to better decision-making, planning, and creativity and makes you more productive at work.
- Effects of sleep loss include poor parental behavior and coping skills, and difficulty handling emotions.
- Exhausted parents have increased risk of depression and anxiety, as well as heart disease, diabetes, and hypertension.
- Sleep deficient drivers are just as dangerous as drunk drivers.
Sleep deprivation effects on the family
- Sleep deprivation leads to less cooperation and family cohesiveness due to bickering, resentment, and poor mood control.
- When family members get enough sleep they feel better, function better and have extra energy to spend on each other.
- A well-rested family has a better quality of life than a tired family.
Being a parent means being responsible for the safety of a vulnerable little person around the clock! It’s a tiring job on the best of days. The National Institutes of Health states that sleep deprivation slows reaction time and clouds judgment, causing accidents and injuries in the workplace. As parents, a good night’s sleep is crucial in order to handle the daily obstacle course of life that kids give us.
Here’s the good news!
Your baby or toddler already knows how to sleep. Our brains are wired for it. Have you noticed how much happier your little one is when he’s rested well? Let that be your motivation! Sign up for our FREE Exhausted Mom’s Survival Kit & get your baby sleeping better tonight!
Want to read more? Check out these references. National Institutes of Health. Harvard. National Sleep Foundation.