How does your baby sleep? Well? Or not so great?
What is it about you having a lousy night’s sleep that makes everyone else so annoying?
It seems that way, doesn’t it?
Baby sleep habits strongly affect your sleep habits.
You have a night of broken, interrupted, just plain lousy sleep, and the next day people are driving like they need to hand in their license and be done with it. People are whistling and the sound is boaring into your brain making you mad. People are asking stupid questions, and oh yeah, your children have reached a whole new level of loud…
You know, researchers from the University of Arizona released a study back in 2006 that showed people who were deprived of sleep over a 55 hour period had…
An increased tendency to blame others for problems
Reduced willingness to alleviate a conflict situation by accepting blame
Lower willingness to behave in ways that facilitate effective social interaction
I know this might not seem like especially earth-shaking news, but it speaks to a broader point.
Sleep deprivation affects your relationship.
So let’s imagine that you and your partner are the proud parents of a new baby. Your lives are undoubtedly blessed, but let’s not kid each other, a new baby is a mammoth responsibility. They require their parents to make, on average, one zillion decisions a day (I’m estimating there, but it’s for sure in the ballpark. Let’s say a zillion-ish).
For every decision that has to be made, you and your partner need to come to some sort of an agreement that it’s the right way to go.
What time should the baby sleep?
What do we do when he starts crying?
Are we going to breastfeed? Are we able to?
These are questions that need to be agreed upon and then reevaluated if things aren’t going smoothly, and these are just three of an infinite number of choices you’ll make in the first few weeks alone!
Every one of them presents an opportunity for disagreement.
Now, you and your partner might have a great method of solving your disputes. You may have already agreed on a lot of these questions before you even got pregnant. However, as any parent knows, all of those decisions are up for renewal the second things start going off the rails.
So here you are, faced with all of these decisions.
All of which need to be approved by you and your partner. You’re frustrated because things aren’t going smoothly to begin with. To top it all off, your ability to recognize and respond to each other in a rational, civilised manner has been seriously compromised.
Two people forced to debate the most important decisions they’re likely to make in their lives, and they’re psychologically primed to blame one another, get angry, and less likely to play fair or accept responsibility.
On top of that, couples who don’t get enough sleep are less likely to show gratitude towards each other. They are also significantly more likely to feel unappreciated, according to Amie Gordon, a doctorate candidate in social-personality psychology at UC Berkeley.
The hits keep on coming!
As is often the case when a new baby comes along, one parent is off to sleep on the couch or the spare room, whilst the other one is in with baby.
If that’s not enough to halt your sex life, the lack of sleep sure is.
Lack of sleep decreases libido. So in those rare opportunities where there could be a chance to fool around..who has the energy for that?! It is VERY hard to get in the mood when all you want to do is curl up and go to sleep for a month.
Loads of couples get through this period in their lives with their partnership intact. I’m definitely not trying to suggest that sleep deprivation is going to be the end of your relationship. A baby who isn’t sleeping isn’t necessarily going to result in divorce.
It can, however, put a very big strain on any relationship.
Babies are amazing, right?
I mean c’mon. What can possibly compare with those first few months when you and your partner stand over the cot together and look down on that precious new life that the two of you created together? It’s the most romantic experience I can envision, and it’s a period in your life that deserves to be cherished.
That’s not so easy to do if you and your partner are constantly fighting because neither of you are getting enough sleep.
There are so many reasons to make your little one’s sleep a priority when it comes to their well-being.
However, I’d ask you to take a selfish little detour for a moment.
Consider what baby sleep habits mean for you, your partner, and your relationship.
After all, if there’s one gift your kids always appreciate, it’s seeing their parents happy, united, and in love.
So before you commit to couples therapy. Take a few weeks to commit to getting your little one sleeping well.
See how it makes you feel.