Parenting shouldn't be synonymous with sleep deprivation. While expectant mothers and fathers everywhere prepare themselves for the 24/7 grind of parenthood, many have already resigned themselves to a world of limited rest. That mindset could do them—and their children—more harm than good.
According to an article in the Washington Post, parental sleep deprivation should be treated as a public health issue, with the government offering "practical help and support" for all the pooped moms and dads out there.
"Today’s financial reality dictates that both parents must invariably work, often in full-time jobs. Meanwhile, the traditional framework of wider family support has also been fragmented," the Post reports. "A child’s grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins can no longer be expected to live round the corner, in the same neighborhood, city or even country. Parenting has become more full-on than ever before."
The health effects of losing sleep, when added to the stressful demands that American society places on its parents, no doubt makes our moms and dads more irritable, less focused and too tired for intimacy—a major thorn in the side of any relationship. In all, the downfalls of little sleep do not contribute to being the best parent you can be.
But it's not just mothers and fathers who are prone to the consequences from lost ZZZs. New evidence suggests that a lack of sleep in children is linked to diabetes, the onset of obesity and even cardiovascular disease, according to the Post.
The belief that losing sleep is simply a part of parenting needs adjustment. Yes, you're going to have plenty of sleepless nights, especially with a newborn. But that doesn't have to be the everlasting reality of having kids.