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  • Megan Copeland

Sleep Deprivation and Your Health

Updated: Jun 27, 2021

Sleep Deprivation and Your Health

Do you feel like a walking mombie? If so, you’re not alone, and I can tell you from experience that this phase will wax and wane. Newborns are not the only ones to have difficulty with sleeping. Unfortunately toddlers can cause you just as much sleep deprivation!

How often do you say to yourself or others, “I am so tired”? The longer you continue to have interrupted sleep, the more havoc it will wreak on your health.

Physical Symptoms:

“Less than six hours of sleep in a single night is acute deprivation,” says Robyn Stremler, a registered nurse and associate professor at the Lawrence S. Bloomberg Faculty of Nursing at the University of Toronto, whose research focuses on sleep and parenting.

So what are the symptoms? Has anyone told you lately that you look tired? Chances are it’s because you have dark bags under your eyes. Other symptoms include eye twitching or getting dizzy easily. Have you noticed a little extra cushion forming? Research suggests that when you’re tired you make poor food choices and reach for higher fat, higher sugar content foods. Lack of sleep, a slower metabolism and weight gain go hand in hand. Does it feel like you get sick a lot? With little to no sleep your immune system becomes suppressed, which makes you more susceptible to getting a cold.

When you’re exhausted and have little to no time it’s no wonder you don’t want to strap on your shoes and head out for a jog. It makes sense that you grab whatever’s in sight and shove it down your throat. These are smaller problems,however, but what about the bigger health issues that lack of sleep can cause?

Cognitive Effects:

Sleep is an important time for our brain to recuperate all the activity it went through during the day. Most of you sleepy parents will agree that when fatigue and drowsiness occur, no amount of coffee fixes it.

Poor or fragmented sleep has been compared to effects that are similar to being drunk, such as slower thinking and reaction times. It has been mentioned that people who sleep poorly have trouble with reasoning, problem solving and even comprehending simple conversations or written articles.These are just a few of the effects that lack of sleep can cause to your overall functioning on a daily basis.

Your Mental Health:

In addition to symptoms and cognition, lack of sleep can really take a toll on your mental health. Low mood can occur and emotional regulation is out of whack, leaving tired parents unable to cope with their toddler’s plate being too purpley!

Have you found yourself becoming more irritable or easily frustrated? Do you seem to be more anxious than usual? Chances are this is your body’s way of telling you that you need more sleep. Even basic tasks can seem impossible when faced with fragmented sleep.

What Can You Do?

Make sleep a priority! However, this is easier said than done when dealing with your child’s sleep struggles. Make sure you go to bed at the same time each night. I know it’s hard when you can’t seem to get anything done while the kids are awake, but staying up late even one night has consequences over the following next few days and nights. If you can, squeeze in a nap! Work with your partner to help each other get sleep so that you don’t fall into a sleep debt.

If your sleep is in the negative you may notice the above signs and symptoms. It’s time for you to get help! Don’t go emotionally bankrupt due to lack of sleep.

Many parents don’t realize how quickly the negative effects of little to no sleep has on their physiological, cognitive and emotional functioning. Just as we saw nutritionists, doctors or personal trainers to stay healthy, a sleep consultant provides significant benefits for you and your family’s health. While working with me I will provide 1:1 support for two weeks to help you and your family get the much deserved sleep you so desperately need.

What is holding you back?? Make your family’s sleep and health a priority!! 2021 Is the year for sleep.

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