Many of us older folks have an unhealthy relationship with sleep. We’re from that era where it was honorable and industrious to work long hours. That’s what denoted success. You can sleep when you’re dead. That’s what we were told. Now we’re reaping the ills of our misguided choices. Lack of sleep is linked to so many maladies both physical and psychological. We now know that a rested person is a healthy person. More so, a rested parent is a better parent. Here are four ways sleep helps you parent better.
1. Increased energy
Every parent wishes that they could match the energy level of their child. Those energizer bunny toddlers are the worse! Sleep restores energy. During high-quality sleep, your body restores many functions it calls on during daily life, such as temperature regulation, a strong immune system, steady hormone levels, and good appetite. All of these factors play a role in how much energy you have.
2. Better mental health
Being a good parent means catering to your mental health. Developing good sleep habits is crucial for this. Mental health issues of depression and anxiety disorders are exacerbated by poor sleep. Many parents are living with mental health challenges. An important part of coping and staying healthy is getting enough sleep.
3. Increased patience and tolerance
No one likes a cranky, sleep deprived toddler. Put the shoe on the other foot. Who wants to deal with an irritable, sleep deprived parent? It’s a well-documented fact that lack of sleep increases irritability. As adults, we may not have tantrums, but lack of sleep will make us impatient and intolerant. More than half of our jobs as parents involves being patient and putting others first. That becomes even more difficult when you lack sleep.
4. Better overall health
Healthy and happy parents raise healthy and happy children. Well rested parents are healthy parents. Getting consistent good sleep is linked to a reduction in chronic diseases, improved social interactions, improved immune functions and better concentration. There are no negatives to sleeping well.
In our quest to be the best parents, and ultimately providing the best for our children, we need to remember that maintaining optimal health is part of that. With that in mind, there’s no such thing as a healthy parent who doesn’t sleep. Sweet dreams!