Not getting enough sleep each night? You’re not alone! Here are the signs and effects of sleep deprivation and 5 ideas on how to avoid it.
Our baby is 3 now, and the days of being woken up 4+ times during night are aren’t that far behind me. Some nights she would wake up several times and even just before the sun was rising.
Often once she fell blissfully back to sleep, I’d get up. That “good 6-8 hours of sleep” that most recommend had not been my reality many nights. It was more along the lines of 5 hours of sleep, and definitely not “uninterrupted.”
I had thought maybe I didn’t need 8 hours of sleep each night. It almost sounded like an unnecessary luxury. Perhaps I was one of those moms who could still function well on 5-6 hours of sleep each night. (insert laughter here).
“Oh, okay… well, what’s your address? I always get confused by the mail boxes.”
I was stumped. My address, you know, the home we’ve lived in for over a decade… I couldn’t remember it.
“What’s your address?” It was the simplest of questions. But I hadn’t been prepared to answer that so early in the morning. She caught me off-guard and I just couldn’t remember.
I threw out a number that was close (Close!?) to our actual address, but it didn’t sound right when I said it. She talked for a few more minutes, then took the box to our neighbors. I stood there, half-way listening, wondering “What’s my address?”
As I walked into the house and shut the door behind me, I had to ask the kids, “What’s our address?” As ridiculous as it was, it showed the glaring deficiency of sleep I’d been getting, and it was obvious I needed much more!
How Much Sleep Do We Need?
According to the National Sleep Foundation, the average adult needs about 7-9 hours of sleep each night. If you’re not getting enough, here are just some of the most common symptoms and signs of sleep deprivation:
- Daytime drowsiness
- Irritability – Little things that don’t usually bother you, have got you pretty grouchy now
- Feeling tired after sleep – You just woke up, but still feel drained and tired (Amen?)
- Stress, anxiety and depression
- Memory and concentration problems – Feeling like you are in a fog
- Appetite changes (This one was a surprise to me!)
- Driver fatigue –The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration states that at least 100,000 automobile crashes, 71,000 injuries, and 1,550 fatalities were a result of driving while drowsy!!
What Are Some of the Effects of Sleep Deprivation?
- Loss of concentration and daydreaming
- Inability to remember tasks and information
- Slowed reaction time
- *Hypertension and Heart Disease
- *High blood pressure
*”An October 2007 study in the medical journal Hypertension suggests that women who routinely sleep fewer than seven hours a night may have an increased risk of developing high blood pressure. The study followed 10,300 adults between the ages of 35 and 55 for five years. When compared with women who typically slept seven hours each night, women who slept six hours a night were 42 percent more likely to develop high blood pressure. Women who routinely slept no more than five hours had a 31 percent higher risk.”
We Know It’s Important, But What’s a Mother To Do?
You’re a mom, you have children. You may have young children that still wake each night, so even though sleeping a good solid 7-9 hours per night sounds like heaven, you read this and wonder, “How could I ever manage that?” First, don’t be discouraged! Hopefully you’ll be inspired to find a few ways to sleep better.
Here are just a few tips of mine as I look back over the past 25 years of experience with mothering and times of significant lack of sleep:
- Try to get to bed by 10pm or earlier each night
- Sleep in sometimes if you can, especially on the nights you haven’t gotten enough sleep
- Take a nap during the day when you’re children are sleeping (And don’t feel guilty about it!)
- Skip the coffee or tea, especially in the evening
- Help the baby to establish good sleep patterns (I’m speaking of older babies, not newborns who wake quite often)
To summarize, know that sleep is essential for you as a wife, mother and homemaker. Don’t feel guilty about taking a nap when the baby sleeps, or sleeping in as long as your teens do.
More sleep can equal a more productive, happier and healthier wife who can better care for those the LORD has entrusted to her. The point is to not neglect getting the sleep you need, but let’s make sure not to beat ourselves up either when we know we haven’t gotten enough rest.
Encourage someone today! Share your tips for mom’s with young children who are often sleep deprived.