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How does sleep deprivation affect you as parents?⁠

A lack in energy and snapping at your partner are things which feel very familiar when we have had awful sleep but the effects of sleep deprivation actually run much, much deeper than that for us as parents:⁠

Emotions: Sleep deprivation has such strong ties with depression and anxiety and our general ability to cope with a whole new life of parenting.

Physical: Blood pressure and illnesses are both affected by prolonged sleep deprivation. It also has such a big impact on our diet and the foods we naturally reach for when tired – sugar and caffeine are high on the list to help “get us through” so our ability to lose weight is massively reduced. Our sex drive also takes a nose dive, unsurprisingly.⁠

Relationships: The relationship with our partner tends to suffer the most, with them being right THERE most of the time!!! But our patience and energy to lovingly parent our little ones also often becomes harder. Sustaining friendships also often takes a complete backseat (at a time when we really need them).⁠

Mental: Can’t think of that really obvious word on the tip of your tongue? Left the remote control in the fridge? A whole set of cognitive skills are well and truly blasted with our ability to reason, our memory and our verbal skills all affected.⁠ It can be something we’re able to laugh about, but when you’re adding driving a car into this equation suddenly it’s not so funny.

You are not failing by asking for help with sleep, and you don’t need to “just cope” or "get by" on the bare minimum. Just because we become parents it doesn’t mean we develop an ability to exist on no sleep for prolonged periods. You completely deserve to be rested, to be happy and to thrive.


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