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Sleepless in Parentville!

"Good night, I Love you, Sweet Dreams, Now Go to Bed!" cover

​Sleep deprivation. It's something I'm sure you've experienced more than once since your baby came home. Losing sleep is part of your job description as a parent. And it doesn't matter if you have a toddler or a teen.

Feeding a hungry infant in the wee hours of the morning, rocking a sick child to sleep in the middle of the night - these are the moments that keep you awake at night.

According to most sleep specialists, if you try to take a catnap here and there to makeup for sleepless nights, you won't get the real rest you need. As a result, you may start experiencing memory loss, diminished alertness or illness.

So what is a busy parent to do? Here are a few strategies to help you get that much-needed shuteye:

  • If you have a spouse, take turns being the on-call parent at night. While one gets a night of uninterrupted sleep, the other has a bonding experience with baby.

  • If Mom is breast-feeding baby, she can use a breast pump to prepare extra bottles. Having extra bottles ready means Dad can handle overnight feedings a few times a week.

  • If you're a single parent, ask a grandparent, sibling or close friend for some relief. Their help, even one or two nights a week, can give you some rest. If possible, you might consider restructuring your job. Maybe you can work from home part of the week or take advantage of flex time.

Your life has changed, and your schedule will have to revolve around your new priority - your child. That doesn't mean you have to be sleep-deprived the rest of your life. Manage the changes to your lifestyle. Ask for help. Delegate responsibilities. You might just find you have the time to get the sleep you need.

For more tips on this subject, check out Dr. Pat Friman's book "Good Night, Sweet Dreams, I Love you, Now Get Into Bed and Go to Sleep!"

This content was created by Boys Town expert Pat Friman. To learn more about him, visit his expert page here.