How important is sleep? It’s critical! In fact it’s essential to living and people with the rare disease fatal familial insomnia actually die from being unable to sleep.
Lack of sleep can lead to depression, headaches, inability to concentrate and difficulty controlling emotions. How is this related to parenting? If you are not getting enough sleep, you won’t be able to do your best parenting.
One Dad I recently spoke to had set up his schedule so that he worked the evening shift from 10:00 PM to 6:00 AM. After working, he came home and fed his 6 and 10-year-olds breakfast before getting them off to school. He then caught a quick nap before his 2-year-old woke up. Since his wife worked during the day, he was then up with the 2-year-old until she took a nap in the afternoon.
His schedule was set up so that he regularly got 4 or 5 hours of broken sleep. He wanted to be a loving parent for his kids but he found himself sometimes lashing out at his kids. He had been beaten as a child and did not want to beat his children; however, he did exactly that one day when his son misbehaved.
His lack of control with his son was a huge wake-up call for him. He knew he needed help and the first step was figuring out a new schedule so that he would regularly get enough sleep. Without enough sleep, he would not be able to be the parent he wanted to be.