A new study has shown that people who are sleep-deprived may as well be drunk. So what does this mean for mums with newborns?
Researchers in Vancouver, Canada have measured exactly how much sleep deprivation affects people in their day-to-day lives. Pat Byrne is the co-developer of Fatigue Science and she developed a test that found people who are overly tired have similar reaction times to those with a blood-alcohol level of 0.08.
Sleep is essential to maintaining health but those first few weeks and months of motherhood will always be sleep deprived. So if a new mums response times are similar to those of someone who is slightly alcohol affected it could mean two things:
1. New mums really are more resilient than they get credit for
2. Parenting isn't as hard as it seems if we can still achieve it in a state of subtle inebriation
We all underestimate just how much prolonged sleep deprivation can affect our moods, our health, our lifestyle and our ability to be a good parent but we still manage. And this is why.
The body is a fascinating thing and women are perfectly designed to be able to care for infants. We have adrenalin that keeps us chugging along even when all we want to do is lie down. We also have the ability to power nap. Studies have shown that even ten minutes can help fuel us for the next two hours.
The body builds up a sleep deficit. One or two catch-up sleeps each week can make up for three or four days of not much sleep at all.