How do you feel when you don’t get enough sleep? Tired, sure…but what else?
Sleep determines much more than just your sense of exhaustion. Going to bed too late, waking up too early, or midnight disruptions can contribute to a range of problems, including irritability, lack of concentration, and even increased risk of depression or anxiety.
What’s more, an article published on Get Sleep™, a resource from the Division of Sleep Medicine at Harvard Medical School also notes that the connection between sleep and mood goes both ways. It states, “Not only does sleep affect mood, but mood and mental states can also affect sleep. Anxiety increases agitation and arousal, which make it hard to sleep. Stress also affects sleep by making the body aroused, awake, and alert.” Not getting enough sleep can turn into a vicious cycle, and not just for you; we often forget that children experience stress and anxiety as well.
However, it’s not all bad news. A good night’s sleepcan quickly improve or even reverse these problems.
Setting a consistent and healthy bedtime routine for your child can dramatically improve your own patterns. The article highlights the experience of one Boston working mother, saying, “When she got both of her children on a consistent sleep schedule, she herself started sleeping an average of seven to eight hours a night and her mood improved considerably.” Try our High Five for Sleep listed here.
Also, be sure that both you and your child aren’t going to sleep holding onto thoughts or troubles from the day. Encourage conversation with your kiddo; ask her if there’s anything she’d like to talk about. Be sure you have support systems in place as well.
Sleep is critical for emotional health from childhood to parenthood. While it may seem that becoming a parent is synonymous with fatigue, small changes in your and your child’s sleep schedule can dramatically improve emotional and mental wellbeing for the both of you. Remember, it’s not just about feeling awake – it’s about feeling happy.