Healthy Sleep, Healthy Mother

Module 1a

We all know the challenges of a poor night’s sleep. The foggy fatigue that plagues us the next day and makes any kind of productivity twice as difficult.

Sleep can be hard to come by when you have a child who requires care overnight, who sleeps poorly, goes to sleep late or wakes up early. One night becomes two, two becomes many more, and soon enough, that foggy fatigues becomes a way of living.

If you feel sleep challenged, you are not alone.

Past research with Australian mothers indicated that about 50% were chronically sleep challenged. Mothers who were sleep challenged also reported lower physical activity levels during the day, and higher stress levels overall.

In a recent study of 77 mothers of children with a disability, many women reported both poor quality sleep (52%) and poor sleep maintenance, with 49% reporting less than three nights of sleep per week without attending to their child/ren.

This study also found that sleep quality impacts mothers’ interaction with and perception of their local communities. Of course, when you are so tired that getting through the day is an enormous effort, the last thing you probably feel like doing is heading out – unless it is absolutely necessary. Mothers who reported poor quality sleep were less likely to rate their families as included and involved in their communities.

What can I do?

There is no simple answer. Most families need to find a highly individual solution to manage family life overnight and during the day. However, as the research findings suggest, finding time to rest, sleep at an alternative time, share care overnight, use night time technology, or find another solution is important for you and your health.

Take a moment to read the Healthy Mothers Healthy Families Sleep factsheet for more.

“Sleep is the best meditation.”
~ Dalai Lama