Last month we discussed infant sleep health, today I’d like to follow-up with discussion of family sleep health. Whenever I’m working with a family to help them improve their child’s sleep, I also think about the parents sleep too. So many parents come in saying they get hours less sleep each night than they need, and they can’t think as well as they used to, or that they aren’t getting along like they used to. Here’s some more information.
Facts About Parents’ Sleep
Many adults in our culture don’t get adequate sleep. For parents, an additional sleep disturbing factor is the children who wake them up in the night or early morning. This sleep disturbance can have a broad impact on how parents function during the day, and even on how parents get along with each other.
In the 2004 Sleep in America poll it was found that among parents of children 10 years old and younger:
- 58% of parents think they need 8-9 hours of sleep each night
- But on average get 6.8 hours
- 62% said they are not getting enough sleep
- And 20% say daytime sleepiness interferes with their daily activities
- 5% of parents say their childs’ sleep causes marital stress
In mothers of infants and toddlers, after just 3 weeks of their child sleeping better, the mothers are less depressed, and able to think more clearly.
How to Get Healthy Sleep for the Whole Family
So if you find that someone in the family isn’t sleeping well, take the opportunity to create a healthy sleep plan for the whole family. Here are some questions you can think through for each parent. You may want to print this out and post it so everyone will know the plan and can be involved.
For each individual have a section with these answers:
1. Nightly sleep need:
2. Quiet (non-task) time will start at:
3. Lights out at:
4. Night waking responsibility:
5. Wake time:
Remember how not getting adequate sleep can affect physical and cognitive performance, and mood. When everyone is well rested you’ll be better able to enjoy your family!