“When you’re tired you start thinking about you. Don’t be tired. Your mom never gets tired. Be as tough as your mother.” — Duke Coach Mike Krzyzewski
I recently came across this gem and at first, it had me thinking: We moms – we’re tough MFers, aren’t we?
But then I thought: Hold up. I’m tough! I’ll celebrate and take pride in that any day. But I DO get tired!
I can appreciate that Coach K was talking to his team about their attitudes and endurance levels in the context of basketball. But still. Moms DO get tired – for many, many reasons. I get to own that, don’t I?
How about, “When you’re tired you start thinking about you. And that is OK! Do that! Figure out how your priorities need to shift and show yourself some love!”
Being tired, after all, means that we’re ignoring crucial signals that our bodies are giving us to slow down. When you’re driving and you see a yellow light, you start slowing down. At a red light, you’re fully stopped. You’re watching for cues and signals, and you’re responding.
But when you’re tired, you’ve essentially been sliding through stop signs and blowing through red lights all day. All week. All month. Maybe even years!
Answer truthfully: are you getting the recommended 7-9 hours of sleep per night? Is your sleep fairly consistent and complete, versus fragmented?
Almost every parent of a normally developing child will experience some measure of sleep loss. The night feedings, the diaper changes, the sick child who needs a lot of extra love and nurture. But even that must happen within reason. And that’s where it’s important to ask those hard questions.
To what extent is this reasonable? To what extent can I continue this pattern of fragmented sleep without bringing undue negative impact on my (family’s) overall health?
While the answer will inevitably be different for each of us, there comes a point where ALL humans will suffer from chronic sleep loss. According to Matthew Walker, director of UC Berkeley’s Sleep and Neuroimaging Lab and the author of Why We Sleep: Unlocking the Power of Sleep and Dreams, “sleep is the single most effective thing we can do to reset our brain and body health each day – Mother Nature’s best effort yet at contra-death.”
Tell me that statement doesn’t red-light you for a minute.
When it comes to course-correcting sleep habits – whether our own or on behalf of our children – it really boils down to priorities. What are you going to reprioritize so that sleep moves to the top of the list?
This is difficult stuff! Think about how hard it is to reprioritize how you eat or how you exercise! Sleep isn’t any different.
Knowing that you need to start is one thing. Knowing when, how and where to start is quite another. If you’re tired of being tired – and studies show that 1 in 3 of us are* – let’s get poppin’!
Don’t settle for tired. Tired isn’t the best version of you. It isn’t the healthiest version of you. There is so much more to you and so much more you have to offer! We already know every day can’t be perfect. But that’s OK. This isn’t about perfection – this is about balance. You can do balance. We can all do balance. We just need to prioritize balance.
But like anything, the answer might just lie in reaching out and getting help. Sleep Pea was created to do just that – teach parents about sleep and, in the process, empower them to be more confident about sleep for the days, weeks, months and years to come.
* Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: 1 in 3 Adults Don’t Get Enough Sleep