WORK/LIFE BALANCE FROM A MOM AND NURSE PRACTITIONER

Sleep is golden

10/14/15
You always hear that becoming a parent changes everything. Yes, I feel that becoming a parent has changed my perspective on great number things, and my lifestyle of course is centered around family and being a mom. The most significant change for me is my value of sleep. Everyone warned me about the horrific lack of sleep when a baby comes along. I did heed the warnings, however I had been no stranger to sleep deprivation so I thought these people were being a bit dramatic. How bad could it be? Sleep deprivation has well-documented effects on mental and physical health. Chronic sleep deprivation takes years off your life, is linked to obesity, depression, and heart disease to name a few. Shift-work disorder is now a documented illness. Knowing these facts, I spent most of my twenties on as little sleep as humanly possible to function. I put the important things first, like going out with my friends and drinking to the wee hours of morning and then turning around a going to my work in the morning sick and tired only to do it all over again. When in college I would stay up cramming memorizing whatever I should have learned over the entire semester into an all night study session time and time again. After finishing nursing school my first job was a graveyard position 7pm to 7 am. Even while I worked the noc shift I would get an hour or two of sleep after my shift and go to my grad school class. There were times I would go out with friends after working twelve hours overnight, just so I could feel like I wasn't missing out. Once or twice I got on a plane after working or drove to Vegas. This type of behavior came to screeching halt after the birth of my son. While all this time in my twenties I voluntarily deprived myself of sleep, when you have no choice in the matter my perspective on sleep soon changed. My dear sweet son kept us awake for a solid 8 months before he started sleeping through th night. When I say "sleeping through the night" he still will wake up at 6:00 am ready to play. What I miss most about my life before a baby is simply being able to have a good rest. Sure I miss going out and socializing, but now the idea of going out to a club seems like a form of torture. I could never see the inside of a club again and it would be too soon. I only stay up past 10:00 pm on days I work. I love sleep! After most days of work or being with my son all day I crash onto my sleep number bed into a deeper sleep than Michael Jackson after his propofol drip. Transitioning into motherhood with no sleep is tough. The good thing that came out of it was I now treat my body right and give myself the sleep I deserve! How do you new parents deal with sleep deprivation?
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