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Lack of Sleep on New Parents

“How does the sleep deprivation experiment affect you as a couple?” This was the theme that emerged from our Father’s Group this week. Baby’s sometime, it appears, can survive without sleep…but not so for mom and dad.

Although I am approaching this in a light hearted way…well the truth is really this is quite a serious problem for all new parents or parents of multiple children when a “new addition” comes along. I am not going to talk about strategies or solve this problem. I just want to bring into the conversation the impact that lack of sleep has when you are trying to work, be a parent and deal with the complexities of life without enough sleep.  It is really difficult to do.

Even in my practice as a psychotherapist the clients I consult with, that do not have children, talk about how difficult it is to deal with their lives when they don’t get enough sleep. The research on lack of sleep shows it effects mood and may lead to depression. Lack of sleep has a direct effect on bone health. It is associated with obesity. Lack of sleep is also associated with hypertension and heart disease.

In the world of parent having an infant provides a huge challenge for most parents mainly due to the lack of sleep. I am glad the dads in my groups recognize this. They talk with their wives/partners about it. It may be difficult problem to work with, but it is a huge help when the couple begins to see that so many of the issues that arise for them in the early months of parenting, are not a problem in their relationship,  but are the result of lack of sleep. Sleep…it does a body good!