I never really appreciated how much I enjoyed sleep until I become a parent and found how difficult life is, how grumpy I was without enough sleep. We all know how difficult it is to be cheerful and happy without enough sleep but why is that?
This article is courtesy of Sarah from sleep advisor.org who is going to share her expert tips on why sleep is so important for parents and how to get a good night’s sleep.
If you’re bemoaning the fact that your kids wake you up too early, here’s a little trick to help them sleep in later.
What is Sleep and Why do We Need It?
The Oxford Dictionary’s definition of sleep is: A condition of body and mind which typically recurs for several hours every night, in which the nervous system is inactive, the eyes closed, the postural muscles relaxed, and consciousness practically suspended.
Have you ever wondered, why we need sleep?
Well, this is an age-old question that is yet to be fully and conclusively answered by world experts.
The general consensus across a broad spectrum is that sleep is on hand to enable our bodies and particularly our brains to recover, researchers state.
Recovery is especially important when you are a parent because you don’t only have yourself to think about and take care of, you have your children’s welfare too.
Children are exhausting even when we’re well rested but it’s even more difficult to meet their needs when your sleep deprived.
If you’re lacking in sleep, then there’s far more chance that you won’t retain information, you’ll become irritable and you and your family will suffer as a result.
What Are the Benefits of Good Sleep?
There are quite a few factors in this category, but we’ve picked out some of the most potent benefits of a solid night’s sleep.
Good Sleep Helps Your Emotional and Social Skills
By not getting enough sleep, you can hinder your ability to possess controlled emotions and lessen your social skills; something that is undesirable as a parent.
Research has found that by suffering from less sleep, a person’s ability to correctly identify expressions of anger and happiness were impaired.
This is obviously something that you don’t want to confuse!
Furthermore, studies indicate that diminished sleep affects the ability to recognise important not only social cues, but also process emotional information; all things which are vital as a parent.
Good Sleep Helps Productivity and Concentration
As we touched on, sleep plays an essential role in a lot of aspects of the brain’s function. Examples include; concentration, cognition and productivity.
Throw some reduced sleep levels in and all of these will be negatively affected.
As a matter of fact, studies have shown that deprived sleep has the potential to impact the brain’s function to a comparable degree as being intoxicated with alcohol!
Get yourself stocked up with some healthy sleep levels though, and you can look forward to enhanced problem-solving skills and heightened memory function, which will help you with your parenting duties in general.
Good Sleep Helps Your Immune System
It doesn’t take much to blight your immune system when it comes to lack of sleep.
Research has highlighted that sleeping for fewer than seven hours, you’re three times more likely to pick up a cold compared to people who enjoyed a minimum of eight hours.
Feeling rundown is always an experience that you do not want to endure, particularly when you have parenting duties to attend to. Sleeping is a good way to avert these types of illnesses.
What Can I Do to Help Me Sleep?
This is a rather extensive area to cover too, so we’ve picked out some of the most influential tips that are also simple to feature into your busy lives as a parent.
A Soothing Tea Can Help You Sleep
Pick the right type of tea to induce some well-earned and much-needed sleep and it could well change your world! There are so many options out there, which is why millions of parents relentlessly incorporate herbal teas into their daily lives.
Pick a tea without caffeine which has the opposite effect. (Side note: Green tea contains caffeine and isn’t good for helping you to get to sleep.)
Camomile tea is a great go-to for pre-sleep unwinding, among other health benefits. Passionflower also offers a soothing option too.
My favourite is to get some fresh mint leaves or fennel leaves and add some water (no added sugar!)
Essentially, the act of drinking a nice, warm tea, paired with the act of making the beverage itself, aids relaxation.
The warmth of the tea and the process of making it can help people relax.
It’s worth trying these teas to see if they help you sleep.
Napping Can Help Your Sleep at Night
Putting your child down for a nap while they are young is recommended.
As for you parents, the experts endorse a nap of between 15 and 25 minutes.
Napping for this amount of time prevents you falling into a deep sleep and gives you a welcome ‘power-up’. This little surge of energy can be just the thing in the life of a parent!
You can expect to enjoy better concentration and alertness, combined with improved moods too.
A Comfortable Bed Helps You Sleep
Make sure you’re comfortable! Think about room temperature as well as your coverings.
Studies have shown that you sleep better in a slightly colder room with warm covers.
Make sure your baby’s room and covers aren’t too hot. Here’s how to protect your baby from SIDS.
Get a Delicious Mattress
Nothing beats the feeling of sinking into your perfect mattress. My favourite is a firm mattress but we’re all different and I know my mother loves a soft and squidgy one.
I have to confess that when I stay at her house, I never sleep well as her guest bed is a soft squidgy one. Making sure your bed is comfortable for you is a sure fire way to help you sleep through the night.
To find out more about your perfect mattress here are the sleep advisor’s top picks!
Routine Can Help Your Sleep
It might seem like such a simple thing to stay on top of but managing to follow a routine when you have little ones to look after can easily throw a well-planned routine into disarray.
Children benefit from routine, and in fact, humans crave it.
Stress affects a quarter of people’s sleep routines, so, set everyone up with a simple bedtime routine that can be easily stuck to.
It’s this routine that will enable you your mind and body to trigger the wind-down process.
Taking onboard these simple but effective nuggets of information will go a long way to helping you be the best parent you can be to your children but remember; no one is perfect and there’s no manual, so do what works best for you and your family.
Night night! I hope you get a good night’s sleep.