Parents lose 350 hours of sleep!
Did you know that parents lose an average of 350 hours of sleep the first year their child is born? How does sleep loss affect you? Sleep deprivation can make you irritable, more negative, and have a hard time concentrating. For me, I wasn't irritable with my son, but I had to make a huge effort not to take it out on my husband. Add the isolation of the first few months with a fussy newborn on top of extreme sleep deprivation, and I was a wreck.
Why I am I talking about parents' sleep when I help children sleep? I want to help babies learn to sleep well so the whole family can sleep well. I know I am a much better mother, wife, and employee when I get the sleep I need. As you know, it's hard to get the sleep you need with a newborn. Sure, you can sleep when they sleep, but it's fragmented and not as restorative.
So I have the whole family's health in mind when I help parents teach their children how to sleep well. Of course, the little ones benefit from sleeping well, too. They can learn and develop better, and they are happy instead of fussy and tired.
It's funny because I never thought I would have a career in sleep. But now that I'm studying it and looking back on my life, I realize that sleep has always been important to me. I remember going to bed at 10pm in high school during the school week even though my friends stayed up much later. In college, I purposely scheduled late morning classes so I could sleep in. I've loved sleeping as long as I can remember, and I know that my body naturally likes 9 hours of sleep a night.
It's also funny I'm writing about the importance of adults getting sleep considering my experience trying to decide to sleep train Parker. I literally agonized over whether he would be emotionally damaged from crying during sleep training. I would dismiss the benefits of maternal happiness from teaching your baby how to sleep well because I was so concerned about Parker.
However, I had some dark days where I was crying off and on all day because I felt trapped and hopeless. I knew seeing his mom cry all day long wasn't good for his emotional health either.
I also felt he was frustrated in the middle of the night when I would try to nurse him back to sleep and sometimes he wouldn't be comforted. So we let him learn how to sleep on his own, and I have no regrets as we're all happier for it.
So in case you want to know about how having a baby who sleeps well contributes to maternal happiness (and you should), here are links to some studies about it: