I observe my 8 and 4 year old daughters and I see them curious girls, with an interest in learning about new things and, not out of mother's love, quite bright. Perhaps these characteristics of yours have something to do with the recent study published by Peter Fleming, from the University of Bristol (United Kingdom), which says that children who wake up at night are smarter. It never hurts to know and I'm glad about it, but maybe if they had told me before, my endless sleepless nights would have been less dramatic, since I would think that something was not so bad and that it responded to a benefit.
When you become a mother, you experience situations that put you on the edge. I realized that I could go days without eating, but without sleeping, this makes me irritable in any situation! And it is that the human being needs to fall into the hands of Morpheus to forget a little about the world and recharge batteries.
Everyone tells you that this is going to get better and that as the days, weeks and months go by, the child will get used to his new environment (with what good he was in Mom's gut, it's normal that he wouldn't want to go out and do not get attached to so many external stimuli!), but ... when does that moment arrive?
I still visualize myself searching the internet for children's sleep charts in which they assured me that when I reached three months, my chubby could sleep 8 hours at once. And that day came! She completed her first trimester of life, but the 8 hours of dreams in a row were reduced to 2 hours with her eyes closed + another nursing + another crying + 2 hours in which she no longer knew whether to change her diaper, remove gas, or go out to see dawn!
Now it turns out that this long-awaited wish is transformed into a prize for parents and for your little one because it makes them smarter. According to Dr. Fleming, who specializes in child health and development, "babies who do not sleep through the night or those who wake up frequently have higher levels of intelligence and enjoy better mental health."
Fleming says that the idea that babies should sleep without interruption is a concept of modern motherhood since according to evolution, the most natural thing is that they wake up often. Surely this is something new parents don't want to hear, but if we go one step further and trust what this expert and science tells us, maybe it's not so bad!
Until they regulate their sleep cycle, babies will be more asleep during the day, while from six in the afternoon they begin to be more active. This responds to the behaviors they had within the mother's womb. With the movement that the mother had in the morning, the babies fell asleep, and when the woman was at home relaxed is when for them 'the party began'. On the other hand, we cannot forget that there is what is known as 'the witch hour', that moment at the end of the day and before going to bed in which the little ones are most active, something that responds to 'stress' and 'tiredness' of the whole day and that will cause them, at times, to have difficulties falling asleep .
And since many studies have been done on this dream, here I am going to talk about one that, although it may seem surprising, is totally true. When you have a baby, your sleep hygiene varies. Have you ever stopped to think how many times you wake up in one night for different reasons? Breastfeed, offer the bottle, change the diaper, check if it breathes, take its temperature, check that it has not developed ... and so on endless situations that affect a continuous and placid sleep.
You will repeat these behaviors for two, three, four, five years, or maybe a lifetime, because there will always be something to keep you on your toes. In case it can help you in something, according to a study carried out by the Oxford University Press on behalf of the Sleep Research Society, there is talk that parents' sleep can take up to six years to fully recover.
And, of course, this report has also been able to extract another rather curious fact: while women experience a reduction in sleep of 62 minutes every night, that of men is only 13 minutes. This circumstance is associated with the fact that women choose to breastfeed, although when they abandon it, the trend is not reversed. Mothers sleep 20 minutes less every night and they 15 minutes.
Without getting enough sleep, parents can feel stressed, anxious, and irritable. And of course, lack of sleep can have an effect on other aspects of our lives:
- In addition to affect relationships between couples, it can have consequences for your social lives and get to distance yourself from those friends with whom you shared so many good moments until now, either because they have not yet increased the family or because you are tired and you do not find time or desire to see each other.
- It can also affect diet (You eat little or too much). Being exhausted, there is no time to prepare healthy homemade dishes and turns to ultra-processed food.
How can new parents improve their sleep? Simple steps like avoiding media and electronic devices 30 minutes before bed, setting a regular bedtime, and even napping throughout the day can help ease the effects of sleep deprivation.
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