You’ve got so much going on in your life that sometimes those hours spent sleeping can seem easy to cheat or cut short in an attempt to “catch up.”
Often, we tell ourselves, “It’s just this once. After this time, I’ll get back on track.”
Yet, the next day is just as busy. Thus, we cut our sleep short again because it seems like that’s the only way to get everything in and done. Then, we do it again. And again. Until we find ourselves truly sleep-deficient and that idea of “catching up on our sleep” seems like just a fantasy.
Sleep deprivation and a lack of sleep, in general, is becoming an epidemic today. Sadly, those affected most often are moms.
So, what do you do if you find yourself in a position where you’re shortchanging your sleep just to stay somewhat on top of everything you need to get done?
The first step to solving your lack of sleep or sleep deprivation issues – as with any other problem – is admitting that the problem does indeed exist.
“This will come as no surprise to mothers, but a new survey finds that women with children living at home are more likely to be sleep-deprived than women without children.” (Interestingly, the same was NOT true of fathers.)
Furthermore, the same study stated, “The researchers also found that women with children reported feeling tired more days a month than their child-free counterparts.”
Therefore, if you have children at home and you THINK you might be sleep-deprived, you probably are.
Next, you need to understand the nature of the problem and how harmful it can really be to you mentally and physically.
While you think that shorting yourself on sleep, just makes you “tired,” there is much more to it. Prolonged insufficient sleep also has some pretty serious physical and mental consequences. As reported by WebMD, “We have good data linking insufficient sleep with all sorts of problems," Roth tells WebMD. "It's connected to poor performance at work, obesity, diabetes, excessive risk-taking behavior, and heart disease." Honestly, if you pick a disease or health problem at random from a medical text, it's probably worsened by or linked to sleep loss.”
You must also realize it’s not just you who is going to suffer from your lack of sleep over time.
If you are tired more often than not, your entire family is likely experiencing the consequences. You are more prone to mood issues such as a short temper, depression, and anxiety—all things that will affect your quality of life with your loved ones. Additionally, you are more prone to mistakes and accidents. If you’re behind the wheel with your children in the car, that’s no good. If you work outside the home and your family depends on your paycheck, errors and omissions in the office can have a horrible impact on them too.
Finally, you need to understand that shortchanging your sleep in the hopes of getting more done, doesn’t actually solve the problem of being “too busy.”
As mentioned above, when you are sleep deprived, you are more likely to make mistakes. Thus, you may cheat your sleep to finish a project, only to find it’s filled with errors. Meaning, you must go back and fix it now or at least, at some point. This costs you even more of your valuable time, and you lost sleep you needed in the process (and will probably lose more during the “fix”).
Similarly, your judgment gets so hindered when you are tired, that you will often make bad choices. These bad choices can cost you in the form of pain, money, and more time. In other words, you will usually find that the end does not justify the means and cutting time from your sleep did nothing to help relieve your “busyness” and in fact, likely made it even worse.
Considering all of this, if you consistently find yourself sleep deprived – cutting into your sleep to try and “make up time” because you’re overworked and overbooked – it’s time to pull your own intervention with yourself. Read the steps we’ve outlined in the article above and take action toward reclaiming your well-deserved and much-needed sleep—NOW.