The impact of parental sleep quality on newborns
- Mums Tips
- Fitness & Health
- Published on Tuesday, 05 December 2023 09:09
- Last Updated on 09 December 2023
- Monica Costa
- 0 Comments
Parenting your very own newborn is one of life’s most emotionally-charged journeys. It can be a big source of joy and fulfilment. But it can also be a major source of hair-pulling stress. It can be so stressful, in fact, that you can lose some precious sleep over it, causing your health to spiral into an unrelenting downturn. While taking care of your baby’s needs is important, so is keeping yourself rested. Being in a constant state of sleeplessness can chip away at your emotional and physical well-being. This can adversely influence your ability to uphold the parental duties your baby so desperately needs. And, truth be told, there are direct and indirect ways for the parents’ sleeplessness to interfere with the quality of care their children receive.
This article will flesh out the harms of raising a child on a lack of sleep, as well as ways you can improve your parental sleep quality naturally. Let’s dive right into it.
3 Health Risks of Poor Quality Sleep on Pregnant Women
Every expectant mother should ensure that their health is in top shape during their term. This means upholding good habits consistently, such as sleeping at least 7 to 8 hours every night. If you fail to get enough sleep, your and your child’s health could suffer the consequences of your actions.
Here are some of the risks of poor quality sleep on pregnant women and their foetuses.
1. It Can Lead to Preeclampsia
Chronic sleeping problems can lead to preeclampsia, or high blood pressure that specifically occurs during pregnancy.
A common habit of poor sleep quality can cause women to develop sleep apnoea, which is a precursor to gestational hypertension and then preeclampsia. This disease can cause kidney problems and chronic high blood pressure. It can also affect foetal growth restriction.
2. It Can Lead to Gestational Diabetes
Pregnant women who lack quality sleep can develop gestational diabetes, a condition marked by an abnormally high blood sugar presence. This condition appears in pregnant women who have no history of diabetes before.
This condition can increase the risk of the mother sustaining low blood sugar during their term and the baby developing type 2 diabetes later in life.
Furthermore, about half of mothers who develop gestational diabetes will go on to develop type 2 diabetes. To know whether you’re at risk, it’s recommended that you get tested about 24 to 28 weeks after term.
3. It Can Cause Delivery Difficulties
When you lack enough sleep, your body will not produce enough growth hormones. It may also lead to excessive cortisol production, a hormone that’s responsible for regulating the body’s fight-or-flight response.
These two conditions can trigger difficulties during labour, such as early labour, a risky C-section birth, or having a very large baby. These can cause problems such as respiratory issues and developmental delays.
3 Reasons to Avoid Sleep Deprivation as a New Parent
Getting enough sleep isn’t only a habit pregnant women should uphold. Both parents should closely monitor their health as a new three-part family. This includes keeping a good sleep schedule. You may be wondering: why bother?
Here are a couple of reasons why parents should maintain a good sleep schedule.
1. Enhanced Emotional Stability
Have you ever noticed yourself being increasingly more irate after a sleepless night?
Moodiness can be the unwanted result of excessive sleeplessness. Anxiety, sadness, anger — semblances of these negative emotions can stir up in parents who don’t get enough sleep.
This emotional turmoil can be bad for several reasons.
For one, you could displace your negative emotions onto your partner and child, which can disrupt the natural harmony of the family dynamic.
Secondly, you could end up neglecting your parental obligations, thereby causing an imbalance of duties in the family relationship.
When you’re unable to properly regulate your emotions, you’re hurting not just yourself but also your family.
Sleeping regularly helps you produce and regulate your hormones so that you can keep your emotions in check. This, in turn, can help you maintain enough emotional stability to raise your child.
2. Sharper Cognitive Abilities
You constantly need to be at your A-game when parenting a child. Making one misstep, like leaving your kid at the back of a car on a hot day, can have dire consequences.
The truth is getting too sleepy can spell trouble to your cognitive abilities. For one, it can make you forget things easily, which can easily lead to arguments and wasted time in the household.
You may also become less alert, which can make simple tasks more of an uphill battle. If you’re a new parent, being a good one is a trial by fire — and you definitely don’t want to enter the arena with a foggy mind.
Sleeping at least 7 hours a night can refresh your brain and keep your mind well-rested. This can help you stay on top of your parental obligations and manage daily life as a parent more effectively.
3. Improved Parent-Child Bonding
Socialising your newborn is a crucial step for them to grow into healthy and happy adults. This starts as soon as they’re born.
If you lack sleep, you may end up showing a less-than-ideal side of yourself to your baby. You may also miss out on fulfilling the exact needs of your child. This can cause them to develop attachment and developmental issues down the line.
By getting enough sleep, you’d become equipped to engage with your child more meaningfully. You can become present with your child during the moments you’ve spent with them, which is something they can recall and benefit from for the rest of their lives.
5 Ways to Improve Sleep Quality
Knowing the risks of constantly running low on sleep is one thing. Actually getting enough sleep in your daily life is a completely different story.
While it may seem challenging to balance sleep with all your other obligations, especially as a parent, there are ways you can systematically improve your sleeping habits.
Here are a couple of tips you can apply in your life to sleep better.
- Establish a consistent sleep routine: Doing things routinely before bed, and actually sleeping at a fixed time per night, can help train your mind and body to sleep better.
- Treat underlying sleep disorders: Sleep conditions like sleep apnoea can steal your sleep time. Treat it using a combination of CPAP machines and lifestyle changes. Click here to browse through a catalogue of high-quality CPAP masks.
- Create a sleep-inducing environment: Set up blackout curtains, keep noise levels low, and set a cool and dry environment in your bedroom.
- Share nighttime duties: If you’re co-parenting, split the nightly chores around the house with your partner or your older children. This can help you finish your tasks at an earlier time, making long-lasting sleep more achievable.
- Practice relaxation techniques: Breathing techniques, meditation, and yogic exercises before bed can help you calm down and sleep more easily.
Even slight habitual changes can make a big difference over time, so do try to implement at least one of these habits in your daily life.
Monica Costa founded London Mums in September 2006 after her son Diego’s birth together with a group of mothers who felt the need of meeting up regularly to share the challenges and joys of motherhood in metropolitan and multicultural London. London Mums is the FREE and independent peer support group for mums and mumpreneurs based in London https://londonmumsmagazine.com and you can connect on Twitter @londonmums