Sleep deprivations is an intense and stressful time for parents and their children. Some parents cope better with sleep derivation than others, and some sleep depredation is or worse than others. Despite how much sleep you're not getting or what effects sleep deprivation is having on you or your life, it can be dangerous to your mental and physical health. You can often feel like you're walking around in a cloud of black fog and there is no light at the end of the tunnel. Rest assure you are not the only parent to feel this way, if sleep deprivation is a result of your child’s poor sleeping habits or an element of post natal depression, then this can be resolved. Sleep deprivation is a significant contributor to women feeling the effects of post natal depression, with most feeling their PND symptoms relieved once they are able to regain the sleep they need. The average amount of sleep an adult needs per night is 7-8 hours.
Sever or prolonged sleep deprivation can lead to long term and devastating effects on a persons mental and physical effects, some include; an increased risk of hypertension, diabetes, obesity, depression, heart attack, and stroke. Primarily the answer to combating sleep deprivation and regain control over you life again is, sleep. If sleep deprivation is something you are suffering from than gaining an appropriate and happy relationship with sleep again is the key to restoring your mental and physical health. By helping resolve your little ones sleep issues, you will in turn also regain the sleep you need to live life to its fullest.
Neurologically it is physically harder for a child or adult to sleep when they are sleep deprived or overtire/overstimulated. When a person or child becomes overtire the hormone adrenalin increases and works against our melatonin (sleep hormone) levels to make it physically harder to wind down and sleep. Neurologically our brain is wired (increased surges of adrenalin, increasing cortisol - awake hormone - levels) and has shifted into overdrive and creating an internal environment that is going to fight sleep, not promote sleep. The longer these hormones are increased, due to sleep deprivation, the long it will take to restore them to a normal level again. Long term effects of sleep depredations has dramatic effects on your bodies adrenalin, making it increase significantly, and in turn also effecting your own glucose and blood sugar levels. The hormonal shift is real and significant to the long term effects to your (and you child’s body) our bodies natural ability to be able to wind down and sleep happy. Once again sleep depredations and overtired effects having a significant effect on the imbalance of our internal/natural hormonal balance.
On the flip side, think about how your little one must be feeling also. If the reason you are sleep deprived is because your child is also not sleeping well, then you can understand how and why they are not happy or more irritable then normal. Sleep deprivation for children is also a concern. If a child is sleep deprived you will find them to be irritable, poorly behaved, harder and take longer to get to sleep, their quality of sleep is poor (often cat napping and waking mid sleep cycles), diet is poor or appear fussy at meal time, pain/teething symptoms appear heightened, sleeping at the wrong times of day and general out of balance. Sleep effects a child and adults whole sense of well being, creating an imbalance and negative shift in their lives.
Children who are achieving the right amount of sleep and at the right times for their age, will be able to learn, grow and develop to the best of their ability. Life is so much more enjoyable for both children and parents when sleep is good. Meal times are easier, play/learn time is processed more effectually, memory is better, behaviour is better, pain/teething is managed better and life has a happy balance. Therefore, by helping your child achieve the sleep they need, as a parent you will also be regaining the sleep you need to look after your family to the fullest of your ability. Life is more enjoyable and frustrating situation are less stressful. Good sleep is the key to a happy and balance well being for parents and children.
If you or someone you know is suffering from severe sleep deprivation or PND (post natal depression), then please seek professional advise and help.
Written By: Che Ruddell - Dreamy Baby Sleep Consultant