Sleep Deprivation

One of the problems with being a mom is that you just don't get enough sleep!

Even if you only have one child, the likelihood is that your child won't sleep through the whole night on a regular basis until the age of 1 1/2 or 2. And of course if you then have another baby, the whole cycle starts again. If you have two or more children it can mean that you don't get a decent night's sleep for five years! That is a lot of sleep deprivation!

Decision Making Ability

If you don't get enough sleep, you don't have a clear mind. Research has found that we tend to make poorer choices and riskier decisions when we are sleep deprived. This can, for example, affect your ability to drive well, especially at night. For instance minute lapses of concentration, which normally wouldn't matter, could cause an accident, and this is true for people who've only missed a couple of nights sleep! How much more so for a sleep deprived mom!

Weight Gain

Too little sleep also makes it difficult for you to lose that 'baby weight'. Women who have five hours sleep a night or less are three times more likely to hang onto their baby weight than those who have another two hours a night. And if you have less sleep a night after a year than you did when baby was six months old you are twice as likely to find it hard to lose weight. Perhaps that's why all those celebrities manage to lose their baby weight so quickly. They are all getting enough sleep thanks to the baby nannies!

Health Risk

People who have fragmented sleep, like most moms, are much more likely to feel pain. And people who are also sleep deprived are also at risk for obesity, diabetes, and chronic artery disease. These days we all live in a sleep restricted world, trying to get by with less sleep than we really need, and this isn't good for our physical or emotional health.

Emotional Reactions

People who are sleep deprived are 60% more likely to overreact to negative experiences. So combined with your see-sawing hormones is it any wonder that you burst in burst into tears if you burn the toast? So if your partner says you are being emotionally irrational just say all you need is a decent night's sleep and then you'll function a lot better!

Getting More Sleep

Of course with young children you can't just leave them to fend for themselves while you take a much needed nap, but you can get your partner to take over for a couple of hours. You can also take turns with a friend to watch each other's children while the other one sleeps. Even a half hour 'power nap' can help, but you really need to find an extra hour or two during the day when you can sleep undisturbed. You need your sleep to function well as a mom so why not ask your partner to get up in the night when the children cry. It's even worth paying a babysitter just so you can get enough shut-eye. And of course whenever the kids are sleeping you should grab the opportunity to sleep too.

So for you and your child's health make sure you are getting enough zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz's.

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