Sleep deprivation is a challenging consequence as a result of certain life circumstances such as a new baby or shift work. A disturbance in healthy sleep patterns can lead to negative outcomes in more than one aspect of life.
If you suffer from poor or reduced sleep, you might be experiencing sleep deprivation. Look no further, as there are several ways you can aim to combat and prevent this negative cycle.
What is Sleep Deprivation?
Sleep deprivation is loosely characterized by the loss or interruption of sleep or sleep quality. It is found that when this occurs, a person might experience a decline in areas of their health, their mental and emotional wellbeing, as well as their ability to engage in their usual daily tasks. There is a reason that sleep deprivation has been used as a form of torture in wartime, because of the havoc it wreaks on a person’s functioning.
The Center for Disease Control (CDC) tells us that approximately 1 in 3 people do not get enough sleep per night. For adults, the CDC feels that this is roughly 7 hours of uninterrupted, good-quality sleep. Are you getting a full 7 hours of rest a night? If not, you can read more about the recommendations for sleep in the sleep section on the CDC website. Two major reasons for sleep deprivation are new babies and shift work, and here’s how you can tackle both!
1. Hush little baby
The reasons why people experience sleep deprivation vary from person to person. For some, it is the result of a major life change, such as the birth of a new baby. New parents’ sleep worlds are suddenly knocked upside down when their little one comes along, requiring regular nightly feeds. This means endless nights of multiple wake-ups, without time to recover due to the full-time demands of parenting.
It is also critical during this phase that parents can operate well, as it comes with much change, both hormonal and other, as well as the ultimate responsibility of caring for a helpless newborn. Without adequate sleep, a breastfeeding mother might not produce sufficient milk, not satisfying her baby’s nutritional needs, and, in turn, causing her more stress and thus less sleep. This becomes a vicious cycle that can have varying and, possibly even, detrimental effects on the entire family unit.
What can be done for new parents?
The old saying sleep when your baby sleeps might sound cliché, but it exists for a reason. Let that laundry pile up in the basket, let the sink fill with dishes, it can all wait. Your sanity and ability to conquer household chores will thank you for it. The folks at sleepauthorities.com/best-eucalyptus-bed-sheets/ discuss smart ways to manage sleep during this phase on their family and sleep page. Other tips include asking for help from a friend or relative to come and relieve you while you hit the pillow. Perhaps you and your partner can arrange turns in duty so that you can each grab a lie-in on alternate days. It is important to see your sleep as a priority to be an effective parent and functioning human.
2. Shift work
A major culprit in the reasons why people do not get sufficient sleep is shift work. As mentioned in this article, workers who work slots with unconventional hours may experience a range of negative health and lifestyle symptoms. This to the point that there is actually a condition termed Shift Work Sleep Disorder (SWSD) which is characterized by excessive sleepiness or insomnia as a result of working hours affecting their circadian rhythms.
What can shift workers do?
There are a number of measures that can be taken to reduce the negative consequences of shift work on sleep health. These strategies can also act as a prevention measure, even if you do not suffer from the syndrome. This includes wearing sunglasses, taking off 48 consecutive hours to catch up on uninterrupted rest, limiting caffeine, using white noise to sleep during the day, and keeping up sleep rituals even for day sleep. While these techniques might not provide an entire fix, they can help in reducing the impact of broken sleep patterns.
If you find that your sleep habits are having a detrimental effect on your health and wellbeing, you might be experiencing sleep deprivation. It is essential that you take proactive action to prevent or solve this issue as soon as possible. Whether it is the result of a new baby, your job, or another lifestyle factor, there are simple tips and resources available to help support you in your journey to improving your slumber.