Sleep Deprivation And New Parents – Awareness And Help

Sleep Deprivation And New Parents - Awareness And Help - Happy BabyAs we experience multiple feedings at night, unexpected 3:00 a.m. diaper changes, and periods of fussiness in the early morning hours, we can turn into glassy-eyed, running-on-fumes parents. ‘Sleep deprivation and new parents’ is a major topic that challenges the majority of us during our baby’s infancy.

Healthline Media, Inc.

According to Healthline Media, Inc., a health information service provider headquartered in San Francisco, California, those first three months with a newborn can be really tough.

Researchers tracking the sleep of thousands of men and women as their family size increased have found that sleep hits an all-time low about three months after birth.

While having children is a major source of joy for most parents, it is possible that increased demands and responsibilities associated with the role as a parent lead to shorter sleep and decreased sleep quality even up to six years after birth of the first child.

Studies have also shown that even four to six years after childbirth, mothers lost an average of one hour of sleep nightly compared to what they got prior to pregnancy, while men lost about 15 minutes of sleep per night.

Women’s sleep duration and quality were far more affected than men, due to whether or not they breastfed their child. And sleep was more affected among first-time parents than among parents with more than one child.

You’re Not Alone On This Sleepless Journey

Sleep Deprivation And New Parents - Awareness And Help - LaughterOn the lighter side, let’s see what some parents say about their most embarrassing sleep-deprived moments in the first year of parenthood. These might make you feel better, and may even make you laugh:

“I brushed my teeth with diaper rash cream that was beside the toothpaste.”

“I poured a bottle of milk onto the floor completely missing the sink.”

“I dipped my fries into my glass instead of my ketchup.”

“I fell asleep in the middle of an important phone call with no recollection of what I had said.”

You may go directly to the Baby Sleep Miracle eBook information to obtain immediate help for your sleep deprivation, or if you prefer, you may read my product review first, visit here.

Another Sleepless Night?

Entirely too many new parents get way too little sleep.

A recent survey from Owlet Baby Care found that new parents are more sleep deprived than they originally thought. Their survey provided some interesting results:

  • Only five percent of parents with children aged newborns to six months actually sleep a full eight hours at night.
  • Nearly half of all parents, 43 percent, with children six months or younger get just one to three hours of uninterrupted sleep at night on a regular basis.Sleep Deprivation And New Parents - Awareness And Help - Another Sleepless Night
  • 17 percent said they get poor sleep every single night while raising newborn children.
  • Moms get less sleep than their male partners do, with 32 percent saying their partners never get out of bed at night to check on the baby. Seven percent of men say the same about their female partners.
  • 40 percent of the parents said they can never sleep during the daytime when their baby sleeps.
  • Around 30 percent of new dads have fallen asleep at work.
  • 21 percent of parents have fallen asleep in parked cars.
  • 12 percent have fallen asleep at the kitchen table.
  • 11 percent have drifted off in the shower.

I’m sure you would agree, these results are not healthy or safe.

Fragmented sleep can also be just as unhealthy as no sleep at all, so even if parents are managing to sleep for a respectable number of interrupted hours, they’re still not getting enough rest, or sleep.

To help you assess your sleep needs, take a look at my article, “How Much Sleep Do We Need?”.

Physical Symptoms of Sleep Deprivation

Our bodies can react to the lack of sleep in many not so visible ways, and can affect us in the following ways:

Sleep Deprivation And New Parents - Awareness And Help - Weight Gain

Blood pressure. For example, people who report chronically sleeping too little, tend to have higher blood pressure.

Weight gain. Sleep deprivation can also affect the body’s hunger responses and our food impulse control, so we make poor food choices more often. Our bodies may crave more nutrient-dense foods, so we’ll reach for options with higher fat and sugar content. As a result, we have a slower metabolism and weight gain, as well as fluctuations in our blood sugar levels.

Research suggests a shorter sleep duration may be a predictor of weight gain in both adults and children. Each 1 hour reduction in sleep time per day is associated with an increase of 0.35 kilograms (0.7716 pound) in body weight.

Diabetes, heart attack and stroke. These physical changes in our bodies due to lack of sleep can also result in an increased risk for heart attack, and stroke.

Other physical symptoms:

  • Other physiological symptoms can include blurred vision, dizziness, or eye twitches.
  • We’re also more likely to catch a cold when we’re sleep deprived, because our immune systems are compromised.
  • A 2011 study published in the medical journal, Behavioral Sleep Medicine, found that a shortage of sleep can lead to what some call the “zombie effect”, which is an impaired ability to demonstrate joy in our facial expressions.
  • A similar study published in this journal in 2013, found that sleep deprivation can make us appear sadder or more sullen. We may also have swollen, or reddened eyes, hanging eyelids, darker under-eye circles, pale skin, more eye wrinkles and droopy corners of the mouth.
  • Lastly, we don’t need a scientific study to tell us that our intimate relationship with our partner suffers as a side effect of sleep deprivation. Many new parents feel they have to choose between a few extra minutes of rest as opposed to devoting attention to their neglected physical relationship with their partner.

Mental Alertness And Sleep Deprivation

Getting too little sleep on a regular basis, less than seven or eight hours per night over a one-month duration, is associated with a decline in mental sharpness.Sleep Deprivation And New Parents - Awareness And Help - Mental Alertness

Even a single night’s poor sleep can cause impairments, including declines in reasoning and problem solving, and a decline in our verbal abilities, such as understanding someone’s conversation, or a decline in our reading comprehension.

Basic problem solving and daily tasks that would be straightforward on a full night’s sleep can seem insurmountable when we’re exhausted.

Sleep is also necessary to prepare the brain for learning. When the brain is deprived of sleep, it is difficult to concentrate and form new memories.

Refer to my article, “Heal While You Sleep – Adults,” to understand how vital adequate sleep is to our natural healing process, and how adequate sleep balances out our energy, our intellectual functions, our alertness and our moods.

Psychological And Emotional Health

In addition to physical and mental alertness, sleep deprivation can have major consequences on our psychological and emotional health resulting in:

Bad mood. A bad mood can occur with even one night of too little sleep, but for those who experience consistent sleep deprivation, this issue compounds over time.Sleep Deprivation And New Parents - Awareness And Help - Emotional Health

Depression, anxiety and paranoia. It is also known that there is a relationship between chronic lack of sleep and the development of diagnosable depression, anxiety and paranoia. In fact, sleep-deprived individuals score higher on clinical scales that measure these areas.

Irritability and frustration. A parent’s emotional regulation and ability to cope is impaired when sleep is scarce, which means tired moms and dads are more likely to be irritable and easily frustrated. This is not a good combination when young kids are involved.

In addition, we may have:

  • Increased feelings of worthlessness, inadequacy
  • Increased feelings of powerlessness, failure, low self-esteem
  • Poor job performance or conflicts with coworkers
  • Reduced tendency to think positively
  • Intolerance and less empathy toward others

Not Enough Time In The Day

According to the Sleep Junkie, an organization who surveys and publishes up-to-date sleep health information, who conducted a survey of parents of children under 18 months old, found parents are spending just five percent of their day on self-care. So, where is all their time going during the day?

Interestingly enough, Sleep Junkie reports that new parents are spending nearly five hours a day doing the following tasks, all in an effort to try to get their babies to sleep:

  • 41 minutes driving around trying to get their baby to sleep, equivalent to driving 20 miles every day
  • 1 hour 21 minutes walking their baby
  • 1 hour 46 minutes feeding their baby
  • 34 minutes reading to their baby

And let’s not forget about bathing and burping our newborns. No wonder we’re begging for more time in the day.

To help us learn how to recognize when our babies are getting tired before they become overly tired, please read my article, “How To Help My Baby To Sleep – Six Scientifically-Based Strategies.” This article also has great tips on how to train our babies to sleep.

So What Can We Do?Sleep Deprivation And New Parents - Awareness And Help - What Can We Do

Many parents have convinced themselves that their bodies and their ability to function is because they’ve adjusted to the scarcity of sleep. But actually, parents are just getting used to feeling fatigued and underestimate the effects of how they feel and the effects of how they perform.

The best thing we can do for ourselves is to add up our hours of daily sleep, and take the next steps to learn how to get more sleep while still caring for our babies.

The Solution

I’ve written a thorough review, “Baby Sleep Techniques Review,” evaluating the resource I recommend for new parents and parents of new babies. It’s an eBook called, Baby Sleep Miracle, Sleep Deprivation And New Parents - Awareness And Help - The Solutionand can be purchased as an immediate-downloadable eBook available on ClickBank, the trusted leading retailer of digital information products.

The author, Mary-Ann Schuler, is a clinical psychologist as well as a mother of two, and has more than 20 years’ experience in child psychology. These are great teachings regarding parents with babies from one month old up to five years old.

Take a sneak peek at the chapters below. Notice chapter one is The Dangers of Sleep Deprivation, which is dedicated to parents.

Chapter 1: The Dangers of Sleep Deprivation

Chapter 2: Understanding Sleep

Chapter 3: General Sleep Rules for Newborns and Infants

Chapter 4: Good Sleep at Every Age

To go directly to the resource to purchase it, go here.

Customer comments. Take a look at a couple of the happy Baby Sleep Miracle customer comments below:

Other “Must Reads”Sleep Deprivation And New Parents - Awareness And Help - Must Read

Here are more of my articles that are relevant in helping new parents with sleep concerns:

In Conclusion

As we’ve seen in this article, we’re not alone in this challenging venture. However, knowing that the importance in getting more sleep is critical to our health and well-being, we can also understand how important our results are contributing to our babies’ health and well-being as well.

My greatest hope is that we believe we are great and loving moms and dads who are learning and transitioning while our babies are transitioning. We’re on the right path of a loving commitment of getting better quality of sleep ourselves during our babies’ development.

What I learned writing this post: I enjoyed researching this article because it helped me realize how critical it is in making sleep a priority, especially during the time of our baby’s infancy when we’re feeling most sleep deprived. Our improved quality of sleep, and thus, our improved physical, mental and emotional health will in turn benefit our little ones.

Please share a sleep tip in the comment area below, that will help other moms and dads also adapt to their new loving-bundle of responsibility. Feel free to leave a question as well. Thank you for visiting, and please come back to learn more from my informative sleep articles.

Best wishes for a ‘Happy Deep Sleep’ for you and your baby.Joanie 77 X 77

Joanie

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8 thoughts on “Sleep Deprivation And New Parents – Awareness And Help”

  1. Even though I don’t have kids yet, I can relate to the sleeping problems that you described. I think a huge part of sleeping problems can be caused by the mobile devices, so I try to avoid them. But a tip that I can think of for the parents is to exercise more. I know it can be hard and exhausting but exercise can actually relieve stress and help with sleep. I hope this can help someone.

    Reply
    • Hello, Ladia. Thanks for your comment and tip. Yes, exercise does help us sleep better. In previous articles, one of my suggestions is that non-vigorous exercise an hour or so before bedtime is good, and vigorous exercise earlier in the day is also great to help us sleep more soundly.

      I will be writing about the kind of exercise moms may do while pregnant and after pregnancy in upcoming articles. In the meantime, I invite you to read my other articles, which will help you understand the sleep cycle, how much sleep we need and healing while we sleep.

      Best regards, Joanie

      Reply
  2. Wow, excellent info! You explained it all so well. We don´t have children but we still lose sleep from our cat who comes to wake us up several times every night. I sometimes even have to get up to feed her so it is much like having a baby but even at 15 years old, she is still an infant in that sense! The only sleep tip I can offer is to turn off mobile devices an hour or two before bed as the blue light can affect sleep quality, I believe.

    Reply
    • Hi Susan. Thank you for your comment. It sounds like your cat requires a lot of attention like a newborn babe! HA!

      You’re right about the light from our mobile devices, like our computers, cell phones, and iPads. The light from them triggers our body chemicals, certain body hormones, to “wake up” instead of “it’s time to go to bed.” By avoiding bright lights in the evening, this will keep our circadian rhythm in check, which is our natural internal system that regulates our sleep/wake cycle over a 24-hour period.

      I’ve written several articles where I explain the circadian rhythm, and how it affects our sleep.

      Come back and visit again. Joanie

      Reply
  3. Great informative post packed with lots of useful resources! I think as parents, you don’t really sleep until your kids have moved out of the house;) But with all seasons of life, this too shall pass. I totally remember the sleepless days and nights with a newborn. I literally cried when my husband had to go back to work after his paternity leave. Thank goodness my mom came to help. But as mothers, we learn to take care of it all, even with our mental health suffering. That is why it is imperative that we seek help and support when needed – it is okay to ask for assistance, it is not a sign of weakness. Like we often hear these days, we are stronger and better together.

    Reply
    • Thank you for sharing your great experiences, Dana. It sounds like you’ve experienced all stages, from infancy to adulthood with your child rearing.

      I agree that asking for help is not a weakness. It takes courage to ask for help, and it shows that we care enough to want better for our children and ourselves.

      Come back again to visit. I would love for you to share some tips with our readers that have helped you during the infancy of your child. Take care.
      Joanie

      Reply
  4. Years back it was considered a great attribute to sleep short hours and be able to power on – especially in the corporate world. Now we see more and more information giving the truth about the importance of sleep!!!…… I appreciate the detailed information you have provided in your post. It is a serious post, but I had a good laugh reading the examples what people have done as a result of sleep deprivation – ie pouring milk on the floor, instead of a cup, oh yes, funny but serious food for thought. Thank you.

    Reply
    • Thank you for your reply, Ola. I agree that we used to think it was great just to power through our day with sheer willpower, when we hadn’t had adequate sleep.

      These days with mobile devices and internet, even our spare time is filled with busyness during the times when we should perhaps be sleeping. Add the care of a newborn baby to all that, and no wonder we’re so exhausted.

      Come back and visit again. I welcome any questions you may have.
      Joanie

      Reply

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