Is Sleep Your New Sex?

By Terry Carson

Let's face it….kids are EXHAUSTING. And the romantic side of a relationship is often trumped by a need for sleep.

Parents don't want to talk openly about this topic, but I can assure you that many are experiencing this problem. It's extremely common for tired parents to opt for sleep over love making. While you might feel guilty saying "Not tonight honey" it doesn't change a thing. You're still not interested.

And, lack of sleep doesn't just affect your sex life.

Tired parents have fewer coping skills, are more irritable and are more easily frustrated than well rested ones. This can have a domino effect on the family. Kids act up, parents get cranky, kids act up more, and parents get even crankier. And the relationship can suffer too. Partners can feel resentful which can morph into anger.

So, for all the parents who don't want sleep to be their new sex, here are some tips for helping them get the rest they need:

1. Take naps anytime you can. Ask dad to take shifts on weekends so mom can catch a few extra zzzzz's.

2. Reciprocate. Dads get tired too so make sure you swap off the kids and give him time to nap.

3. Call in the troops. Whether it's your mom, a sister, or a friend….find someone who can come in and take the children off your hands. If it's a neighbor you trust, offer to reciprocate in some way. Perhaps you could trade kids another time and give him/her a break. Consider doubling up your cooking efforts by making an extra meal. Share it with your neighbour. You'd be surprised how open they might be to having a fresh lasagna ready to go for dinner.

4. Sleep when the baby sleeps. Drop everything and crawl under those covers, even if the dishes have piled up in the sink. If you have a toddler, put her down too so that everyone naps at the same time. If he resists, persevere! Try putting him in your bed and snuggle up together. If there's an older child present, set up activities where he can manage his own time for about an hour while you get an uninterrupted snooze.

5. Put in some ear plugs. During those times when others are in the home while you're trying to nap put ear plugs in so those household noises doesn't disturb you. If that's not enough to create a soundless atmosphere add an extra pillow on top of your ear. (This is not recommended if you're alone with your children as you'd not be able to hear them in case of an emergency.)

6. Get a book on sleep problems. If your child or children are having difficulty sleeping and that's part of your reason for your exhaustion, invest in a good book on resolving sleep issues. I recommend The Sleepeasy Solution: The Exhausted Parents Guide to Getting Your Child to Sleep-From Birth to Age 5 by Jennifer Waldburger and Jill Spivak. It's one of the books I assessed for Chapter's Books as one of their Trusted Advisors and it offers parents systems and strategies to get kids to nap, sleep through the night, etc.

Getting enough sleep is critical for parents. Proper rest is not just good for your mood, your immune system and your sanity, but proper sleep makes you feel human again!

Are you tired of kids who don't listen, cooperate, go to bed, complain or whine? Terry Carson, M.Ed. is a certified Parenting Coach and educatorwho helps her clients get back their control without spanking or shouting. Whether she's delivering a seminar, Lunch'n'Learn or doing a media tour, she's one of Canada's experts when it comes to disciplining kids. Get Terry's free handout "The #1 Mistake Good Parents Make" by signing up for her newsletter now.


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