By Rosemary Marchese
Physiotherapist and mum of 3 fit kids
Are mums at most risk of sleep deprivation?
Getting enough sleep as a busy mum can be impossible. And it doesn’t necessarily just last through the baby phase either. Just when you think they are ‘sleeping through the night’ in comes the new tooth, the flu, the gastro, the nightmare, the bed wetting…need I go on? I almost get deflated when a relatively new mum proudly announces to me ‘She’s sleeping through the night!’. ‘You poor soul. You think it’s over. ’ is automatically what springs to mind but I smile encouragingly letting the fear of sleep deprivation wipe away from her face.
You see, after 11 years of parenting I’ve learnt that getting enough sleep can be a real tough gig for parents, but I’ll speak from a mum’s perspective because that’s what I am, a mum. Working hard to get the child to ‘sleep through the night’ can be a top mission for any sleep deprived mother but, as I alluded to above, it doesn’t all end there. Even once the little munchkin’s sleep patterns are in-check there are so many other things that can interfere with sleep (did I mention baby number 2?). Add to that a working role and you have one recipe for easily getting less shut-eye.
It can be a real dilemma. If you get enough sleep you’re so much more productive but on the other hand how productive can you be if you get zilch time to get your stuff done while the kids are awake? Even short-term lack of sleep can affect us but when it gets to long term that’s when the severe problems start to happen. All of us need to check-in once in a while to make sure we are getting enough sleep.
7 signs of sleep deprivation (I mean ‘torture’):
- You’re hungry all the time. Not getting enough sleep stuffs up your hormone balance and kicks in the ‘hunger hormones’. Biscuit anyone?
- You’re more impulsive. It’s a lot harder to say no to that sugary snack.
- You get sick more often. Stuffing around with your sleep patterns affects your immune system’s ability to produce infection-fighting proteins called cytokines, which are produced during sleep.
- Skin is looking not so good. You are getting more breakouts and appearing more wrinkly. That’s because a lack of sleep can stuff up hormone balances that affect your skin. This can age you pretty fast.
- You are having micro-sleeps. This is especially dangerous if you are driving. Your mind can be so tired it just decides to sleep.
- Your motor skills are out of whack. Tripping over more? Not your usual limber self? That’s lack of sleep.
- You’re super emotional. Lack of sleep can make you teary.
Rose is a Fit Busy Mum of 3 fit kids. She aims to empower mums who are time poor. She acknowledges that mums are ‘busy’ but tries to inspire them to regain their fitness through simple everyday habits that she promotes through her book ‘The Fit Busy Mum: Seven habits for success’.