Sleep Strategies for Modern Dads: Balancing Fatherhood and Rest for a Healthier Family Life

Sleep Strategies for Modern Dads: Balancing Fatherhood and Rest for a Healthier Family Life

The importance of sleep for dad and child is more critical today than ever before. With lifestyles these days of ‘buzzing’ and ‘binging’ technology everywhere, work, stress and increased demands on time is making it harder for dads and children to get their basic recommended amount of sleep. DaddiLife looks at things from a dad-perspective.

Importance of Sleep For Dads

Whether you are new to fatherhood or now a good few years into it, you will no doubt have felt that sleep is a luxury and precious commodity. As a father in the modern age, there is increased pressure to meet the physical and emotional demands of your children. It’s also not easy to juggle those long work hours or hold down other important commitments. The easiest thing sometimes feels like sacrificing a couple of hours of sleep. Why? Call it some form of ‘guilt complex’ but most dads in today’s generation are afraid of failing, being accused of not doing enough or even worse, ‘lazy’. The challenges of parental leave for father's can often be unexpected as Dave from Daddilife explains;
"There are a few scenarios while I have been on SPL which have surprised me. People asking questions like “are you babysitting today ?” to which a reasonable reply is “no, no I’m not – I’m out with my daughter”. Or even the fact that, if your child is in the push chair, then not many people seem to help / assist you and tend to not move out of the way, however, if you have your baby out of the push chair, then no one can be kind or assist enough."
In a small study on father's sleep one of the interesting findings revealed that perceptions of who was getting more sleep - mums or dads - wasn't entirely accurate;
"In other words, the women didn't think the men were as sleep deprived as the men felt, and the men thought the women were moodier than the women felt. Just one more reason that a good partnership is key for surviving the stresses of parenting an infant."
In Daddilife's recent report on dad’s health we revealed that now 1 out of 3 adults will get less than 6 hours of sleep a night. In return, that is bound to have a knock on effect on your mood, energy, decision making as well as physical deterioration. There have been countless and endless amount of studies on the benefits of sleep. Some which are a crucial component in being a dad such as living a longer life, increased muscle and fitness performance, avoiding heart disease and diabetes, depression and immune system. Let’s not forget, kids look up to their fathers and there needs to be leadership by example here too.

Importance of Sleep For Kids

Technology and distractions lurk on a 24 hour basis now for our little ones, and that has made it harder than ever to get our kids to sleep well on a consistent basis. As parents, we all recognise the importance of sleep in our children much easier and we notice the difference when they are not getting enough of it. Those cranky supermarket tantrums or screaming down the restaurant are all too familiar stories when it comes to a tired child (of any age). Many of the reasons why sleep is important for dads align with the child's, as well in more complicated ways. They have different goals to us. Sleep helps their growth both physically and mentally. It helps them to learn more efficiently, concentrate more and can be the difference between ‘adorable child’ or ‘incredible sulk’.

The Solution

With a holistic view on sleep, we can now see that importance of sleep for dad and child are both sides of the same coin. Kids can indeed become the whole reason why dads are not getting enough sleep so it’s important to heed your own advice. Every child is different and unique and self-soothing isn’t the be all and end of all parenting advice. It’s much more complicated than that and here are some ways both dad and child can get a better night’s sleep. Lights out, all out This is more in reference to technology that we are all addicted to. Ensure you turn off all tablets, laptops and even tv’s 30-60 mins before bed. Creating an environment where you are preparing for bed will help you all get into sleep mode and also have some quality time to spend before it. Reading It is a proven tactic even before the days of the internet that having a story before bedtime will help them doze off into a peaceful night’s sleep. As cliche as it may seem, you might even fall asleep next to them but either way it will make dad more relaxed to go and fall asleep. Cuddling The emotional contact between a father and child will make them feel secure, loved, safe and relaxed. All the key elements to help both of you sleep without worrying about what’s happening anywhere else. Teach Them About Sleep Educating your child about the importance of sleep and making it fun will allow them to see the beauty of it. Try to link it to their favourite character or create stories about each important benefit. Whatever you try, you will learn the benefits for yourself as well and become more mindful of it. Sleeping patterns which become regular and healthy will have a huge impact on your lifestyles. You will notice the difference and have more energy to become the super dad your child needs you to be and as one dad reminds us;
"I previously mentioned how tiresome and relentless parenting a newborn can be. Yes, this can increase your stress levels, and if you are not careful and thoughtful, then this could relay onto your relationship. You just have to remember what an amazing achievement the both of you have accomplished, and be thankful for what each other brings to the table."
Written by Han-Son from Daddilife who says "So much has changed about modern day fatherhood, and at Daddilife we're on a mission to help dads navigate through their own journey of parenthood." Join the Daddilife community on Facebook and Instagram.