It’s a simple truth. When babies don’t sleep, parents don’t sleep. Not only are babies over tired and have difficulty sleeping; parents can become zombie-like while racking up huge sleep debt.
When we arrive at a family’s home for our home visit (a part of our Occupational Therapy Consultation process) one of the things we talk about is how the child’s sleeping problems are affecting the family as a whole.
Most parents are stoic and re-direct the conversation to their child and the benefits their child will gain from better sleep. All true.
But the real picture here is as follows: If your baby is sleeping better, chances are you are too. If you are sleeping better, the whole world around you is easier to cope with. Your thinking is clearer, your emotions more in check, your immune system is chugging (not limping) along and you actually have energy to get out to baby groups or the park. Take sleep away and parents can get into some serious sleep related danger such as:
Increased risk of post partum depression
Increased propensity to have a motor vehicle accident
For parents that are at work during this phase – their work safety may be compromised. If you are someone who relies on sharp cognition or precise motor control, consider addressing sleep now.
There are normal levels of daytime sleepiness; every parent feels some level of tiredness. But when it starts to affect your ability to perform daily tasks, it’s time to take a look at your sleep. And this often means addressing your baby’s sleep so you have the opportunity to sleep, too.
Sleep well parents. For everyone’s sake, do not minimize the importance of your sleep. Your ability to safely and effectively navigate your day to day activities is important. If you are not well, you can’t do your best to look after your baby.