Of course, you love your child, but a little one with sleep issues is often a special kind of challenge for parents. Those small hours of the night when the rest of the world is sleeping can feel like the loneliest hours of the day and night.
In the beginning, your newborn woke to feed around the clock. You probably expected this, so it wasn’t much of a shock that you had to drag yourself out of bed at 2 am and then again at 4 am to feed her. You might have even embraced zoning out to crap TV while you coaxed your little one back to sleep.
Eventually though, as the weeks of sleep deprivation stretched to months, the novelty probably wore off and life may have become more difficult. Your sleep deficit mounts and overall fatigue might begin to take its toll on you physically and emotionally. Depression is one result of chronic sleep deprivation. Decreased cognitive function is another area where you might begin seeing an impact from missing sleep. In layman’s terms, you might begin forgetting details and your multi-tasking abilities could suffer. Effective communication and alertness often lapse, also.
So, what can you do? First of all – go easy on yourself. Remind yourself how difficult your job is and give yourself permission to simplify life when you feel frazzled. While your baby struggles with a sleep schedule, realize that sleep for yourself should be a high priority. This means that you should choose a nap over washing dishes or scrubbing the kitchen floor. Aim to get eight hours of sleep in every 24-hour period, adding up all the broken sleep you get during the daytime and the night-time hours. You might relax and sleep more easily if you reduce screen time during the night-time hours. Watching television or hanging out on the computer can interfere with your body’s natural release of melatonin, which helps relax you for sleep. Try cutting out screen time in the hours before bed and overnight when you should be sleeping and you might sleep better when you have the opportunity to sleep.
Above all else – know that for most children the season of sleep challenges is just that – a season, if you would like to change season’s early email/phone Baby Sleep Academy and we can arrange a consultation.
– The main image above is by EveryStockPhoto.