All parents deal with sleep deprivation as it's an inevitable aspect of parenting. Being sleep-deprived generally has its health risks for all individuals but there's more to this than just the physical effects among those with kids. What else happens to parents who lack sleep?
The most obvious effect of sleep deprivation is a sickness. Lack of sleep raises the risks for conditions like Alzheimer's disease, cancer and obesity, as per ABC News Australia. If parents develop sickness as a result of sleep deprivation, then they won't be able to properly care and raise their kids.
Sleep-deprived parents also often feel more tired and stressed as their body fails to recover energy and regenerate cell functions. They are often in a bad mood and thus, could likely snap back at their spouse or child because of their short fuse.
Children easily pick up on the negative impact of tiredness and moodiness in parents. If this is the behavior they often see, then it becomes the behavioral markers they mimic, as per Psychology Today.
Sleep deprivation also affects focus and decision-making. It's a risk for parents who drive their children to school since they need to be defensive and alert on the road at all times. It's also a problem because parents won't be able to notice their children's misbehaviors or decide on important family issues with a well-thought out choice.
There's no other workaround to sleep deprivation but to actually catch up on sleep and get some shut eye. Parents need to make up for it or else their body and mind could soon give up.
It helps if parents nap for 20 to 30 minutes during the day, as per Parents. If the baby is napping, then the parents should join in and do the same. If the parents are away for work, then they need to set aside nap times during work breaks to make up for the times their sleep was interrupted during night feedings.
It also helps if parents turn off their gadgets as they take naps so there are no distractions. Establishing a sleep ritual also benefits parents but if the sleep deprivation gets any worse, then consider consulting a professional.