For some reason that I *still* can’t understand, we seem to have this romanticized, comical conception of new mothers as stumbling around in a sleep-deprived haze.
I’m not saying new mothers aren’t typically sleep-deprived, I just don’t know why we find it so funny, or so acceptable.
Now, I’m not trying to suggest that the new dads out there aren’t giving it 110%. Feminism is about equality, not superiority, after all.
But the simple fact is this:
Women are 2.5 times more likely to interrupt their sleep to care for others than their male counterparts, according to a 2011 study from the University of Michigan’s School of Public Health.
And once they’re up, they’re up for an average of 44 minutes.
That’s no trip to the bedroom and back.
It’s a major interruption.
Not surprisingly, this discrepancy between Mom and Dad’s nighttime caretaking is at its peak during the parents’ typical child-rearing years…
Which just so happens to be prime time for developing careers and income.
So, in short, women are sacrificing their sleep at the VERY SAME TIME that they’re expected to operate at peak efficiency at work.
Is this anybody’s fault?
I don’t know… and I don’t think it matters.
Science shows that women are more likely to wake up to the sound of a crying baby than men.
During the breastfeeding period, we’re the necessary “first responder,” but that role tends to carry over well past the time baby’s moved on to solid foods or formula feeding.
So I’m not saying that fathers are shirking their responsibilities. It’s just a fact of life that we’re typically the ones who end up answering the middle-of-the-night calls from the nursery.
But we need our sleep as much as anyone, especially if we’re going to excel in our professional lives.
Consider this: Sleep deprivation has been shown to have similar effects on response speeds and motor skills as alcohol.
(I’m sure we can all imagine how eager our supervisors would be to promote us to positions of greater responsibility if we regularly showed up to work half-drunk!)
Now here’s the thing:
I’m not suggesting that The Sleep Sense Program is the solution for everyone.
Far from it.
How YOU decide to handle your child’s sleep in a personal decision that you should come to after researching a few different approaches, and deciding which one will ultimately work best for your family.
But make no mistake: Waking up over and over again each and every night DOES take a toll — and those sleepless nights aren’t just bad for your baby’s mood…
They’re bad for you AND they’re bad for your career… and they’re keeping us women from hitting the heights we’re capable of in the professional world.
So however you do it, get some sleep.
The sisterhood is depending on you.
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