Sleep deprived? Your relationship might pay the price
You’ve been up half the night with your bub, you haven’t showered in two days and the only thing you’ve eaten all day is a museli bar. Then, you walk into the bathroom and your significant other has left the toilet seat up. Suddenly, rage bubbles inside you and your eyes well with angry tears. You pounce on your unsuspecting partner, who’s putting the baby down for a nap. “Can you try and be a little more considerate?” you snap, your voice a little louder and harsher than you’d intended. Now, your bub is crying, your partner looks hurt and you feel guilty as hell.
Sound familiar? When your baby isn’t sleeping properly, it has a knock-on effect on your relationship. You and/or your partner end up being awake half the night, trying to get the bub to drift off again. But even the parent who isn’t on night duty ends up having a crappy night’s sleep, as their partner is constantly in and out of bed.
Research shows that even partial sleep deprivation (for example, getting only 4-5 hours of sleep) can have a profound impact on your mood. When you’re not getting an optimal amount of good quality shut-eye, it can leave you feeling irritable and emotionally exhausted. Couple this with the general stress of being a new parent and it’s no surprise that even the smallest thing can make you bite your partner’s head off.
Lack of sleep not only makes you more short-tempered but it actually negatively impacts your conflict resolution skills. So, your arguments will be longer and more serious than they would if you were well-rested — no matter how petty the subject matter is. Yep, it’s no wonder that sleep deprivation is one of the biggest causes of divorce!
Worse yet is when one partner feels as though the other isn’t pulling their weight. For example, if your significant other has to get up early for work in the mornings, so you’re saddled with sleep duty every night. This can lead to feelings of resentment, which obviously has no place in a healthy relationship. Parenting is hard enough as it is without feeling like you and your partner aren’t on the same team!
In the early stages of parenting, it’s important to clearly define what each partner’s role will be. One good way to do this is by having a sleep roster that lays out who will be on sleep duty on certain nights of the week. That said, sleepless nights don’t have to be a given when you’re a new parent. By using gentle sleep techniques, you can get your bub to sleep through the night. And when your baby is sleeping well, it’ll help you regain those essential hours of rest and you’ll become a healthy, happy family again!
We’ve spoken to and been in the homes of many families who are struggling with sleep deprivation. Sometimes, it’s just too overwhelming a thought to even consider tackling it on your own. If you need a helping hand, book your FREE 15-minute sleep consultation HERE.