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5 reasons why parents need more sleep

4 min read

With kids out of school in most of Canada, most parents find their days full as they try to keep their children entertained — without the usual breaks of classes, sports, and playdates with friends.

Trying to be a teacher, calm role model, and arbitrator of disputes can leave you frazzled. Your fuse could be even shorter if you are not getting a good sleep at the end of each day.

You know that your kids need solid sleep to stay on an even keel; so do you.

Countless studies have shown that quality sleep is great for you, for so many reasons:

Eat better = Weigh Less

You’re already baking and eating cookies more often than you should, bringing new meaning to the term COVID-19 (like the Freshman 15). Poor sleep will have moms, in particular, looking for more snacks as your brain tells you that you’re still hungry, according to a study published in the Journal of the American Heart Association. To make it worse, it also causes you to ignore signals that you’re full.

To stop this cycle, you need more time in bed.

You Sleep = Your Kids Sleep

You try to set a good example for your kids in so many ways, so why not this one? Teaching kids the discipline of going to bed on time – and staying there – will set them on a good path. As a bonus, you can crash earlier and be interrupted less often by night-time visits.

These tips may help with your sleep:

Quality sleep = Better Health

There are countless reasons why your body needs some solid shut-eye: it lowers your stress, makes you more focused, lowers your blood pressure, and makes you more productive.

Best of all, it puts you in a better mood, which leads to better relationships with the people around you. 

It also allows your body to recover physically from the strains of the day. Research shows that stopping for some ‘you’ time on the right mattress, will help your muscles recuperate and feel better the next day.

Snoozing = sharper memory and reflexes

While you acquire memories while awake, the filing system in your head works while you sleep – putting things in order so you can find them later. If you have a busy household, that can really help you track down that toy that was left in an odd place or recalling what you promised to bring to that potluck.

Restorative rest also develops your muscle memory so you’ll be quicker to catch falling sippy cups or intervening to prevent a tumble by your toddler. Without those messes, you can have more time to enjoy your days.

Sleep well = Live Longer 

A study of 21,000 twins, and their sleeping habits as adults, showed that sleeping soundly for more than seven hours each night lowered their risk of death by 24 percent. Taking medication to sleep – which signaled troubled natural sleep – increased the risk of early death by 33 percent.

This study isolated sleep from other factors since the twins grew up in the same environment and had similar genetic makeups. It also proved that if you sleep more than eight hours per night on average, your risk of death is 17 percent higher.

Good sleep not only extends your life, it gives you more energy to enjoy it and makes you look younger.

Even better, you get to live long enough to embrace your grandchildren. That way, you can enjoy them during visits then go home to your quiet bedroom and get your rest. 

Michelle is a mother, part-time freelancer, and writer for the Canadian blog Sustainable Planet. She spends her free time skiing, canoeing, and volunteering at local food banks.

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