The other day I was as per usual spending a few minutes browsing Facebook, solely for the purpose of making sure I didn't miss any life changing news announced via the social network. Truth is, FB has been pretty boring lately, but I have begun to rely on it more and more for new blog post updates since I follow way too many blogs now to keep up with all of them. Anyway, in my newsfeed that day were some photos of a tropical vacation an acquaintance and her spouse had taken sans children. They had captured a long weekend of frozen drinks, beach chaises and sandy beaches on camera and now were sharing their memories with the world.
Sure, the idea of adult beverages for lunch and reggae music by the pool were enticing. But what I was most envious of when perusing their pictures was the idea that a child-free overnight (which I haven't had since becoming a mother, unless you count less than 24 hours in a 2 star motel in Pennsyltuckey for my grandfather's funeral) would allow for uninterrupted sleep like I haven't had in years. Don't get me wrong, things are better (she says while knocking loudly on wood), but regardless I still feel like my sleep, be it a nap or nighttime slumber, is no longer my own and won't be for a long time.
Whether you have PPD or not, have children who are infants or teens, sleep probably eludes you as a parent, or at the very least is something that has changed dramatically in your parental endeavors.
Here are links to some articles I have read recently on this topic that I thought you all would find interesting The most interesting research I have read in a long time is this study, which indicates that the perception of sleeplessness or poor sleep quality is much more correlated to depression and anxiety than actual sleep quality and quantity from an objective perspective. HELLO! How could I not have realized this sooner? This makes perfect sense to me and is probably exactly what all that frozen drink/kid-free vacation daydreaming I talked about above is really about. I slept fine last night. Probably got close to 8 hours and thanks to my little blue friend, Tylenol PM, which I took for a headache,only woke up twice in the night and fell right back asleep. Yet, just knowing that I was awakened by my crying toddler at midnight makes me tired. Makes me want to stay in a hotel or B&B or even a tent overnight. If I am honest, I would probably worry so much about being away from my baby overnight that I wouldn't sleep at all, but having the opportunity to do so would be peachy. So, is it really all in our heads? If we had no memory of our night-wakings with baby, would we still be tired and anxious the next day? Good question, huh? A girlfriend of mine and I often muse at the fact that we complain about not being able to sleep past 4am or getting up with a sick child the previous night, yet we don't feel any different than the day before when we'd had a good night's sleep. So which is it? Is a connected 8 or 9 hours key to sleep success or is accepting what you got and not over-analyzing it the real answer?
This one, an article regarding research into intentional sleep deprivation as a depression TREATMENT is shocking and a little sketchy in my opinion. We all know that this very factor is a contributor to PPD. Sure, one isolated incident of sleeplessness may create a "high" in an otherwise well-rested individual. A temporary one, obviously, as the research suggests that the depression will likely return as soon as the person resumes sleeping...which we all have to do sooner or later, right? And for moms with PPD, this treatment can't be isolated to just one night, because most moms experience months of sleeplessness because of their baby nightwaking and perhaps the insomniatic effects of PPD. If only it were that simple, right?
Lastly, this article from PsychCentral discusses a possible connection between sleep problems in children and youth and drug-related issues later on in life. Basically it contends that young adults with a history of sleep issues are more likely to engage in drug, alcohol and cigarette abuse.
What do you think? How's your sleep? How does it impact your mood? Have you noticed connections that the research above has made in your own situation?