Mums and dads tend to leave their sleep at the low end of the priority list, favouring ‘getting lots done’, over rest and recovery. The catch here is, the less sleep you get the less effective you are, and to add salt to a wound, you think you are doing better than you actually are. , and the research show this definitively. Why not prioritise your sleep as well as your child’s? e.g.
- start going to bed a bit earlier to make sure you can get 7-9 hours every night
- check your sleeping environment (is it quiet? dark? cool? electronics free?)
- bedtime routine (go to bed at the same time and wake up at the same time every day)
- look after your physical health physical health (nutrition, hydration, exercise, stress management)
- if you have a diagnosed sleep disorder, seek medical and follow the recommendations as a top priority
- if you are a natural owl, look at ways to nurture yourself so you are waking happy and calm and ready for the day. Negotiate a later work start time? The converse for larks.
A lifeguard and a good sleep role model (2 in one!)
Maximising sleep will minimise your crankiness and have a flow-on effect for everyone around you, including your kids. Not only will better sleep mean you can be the parent, partner and lifeguard you need to be, a secondary benefit is that you will act as a model for your child. Kids are constantly learning from those around them, and you are one of their biggest influences. They learn by watching what you do rather than listening to what you say. By becoming a good sleep role-model you can help your child sleep better too. Stay vigilant
Sleep problems can be resolved quickly
Once sleep improves, parents can quickly forget the pain and frustration caused by sleep problems. It’s just like ‘pain amnesia’ following childbirth, where a mother is so in love and so completely immersed with the new baby that she forgets the pain of childbirth very quickly.
Once you are getting your sleep again, you will very quickly forget existing in a sleep fog haze or the frayed nerves from living with a tired-wired child. You will quickly return to enjoying your child, watching them grow well and learn to their full IQ potential. And so you should!
But as you know, your job is not really finished. You will always be the
lifeguard of sleep (and many other things) for yourself and your child. Therefore, it’s
helpful to do a regular check with yourself and your children, to ensure that everything is still going smoothly for their sleep. Check out if you are all getting your sleep formula with 4 key questions:
- the right number of hours of sleep per day?
- Silent uninterrupted sleep through the night?
- Wake refreshed?
- Manage your energy through the day without excessive tiredness?
Revisiting these questions on a semi-regular basis can help everyone stay on track.
Building your family’s future starts at home, getting the sleep you need every single night.
To truly make a difference. Take every opportunity tell others your story, how great sleep changed your family’s life.