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The Sleep Crèche: Sleep Deprivation

I can't help but notice the irony of working on a blog about sleep deprivation, whilst heavily sleep deprived.


But when I was asked to write this blog, I jumped at the chance, because trust me when I say, I have all the necessary experience on this topic.


Many of us know that feeling. You know? The feeling, you haven't slept since the late 90s.


Pre-parenthood I had always heard the tales from parents about the levels of sleep deprivation and thought, sure it would be tough, but I've watched a marathon session of ‘The Golden Girls’ until 6 am before. I can do this!


But now, (2 small children later) I know how deep sleep deprivation can really get, the depths of depravity that makes you feel like you are about to drop dead …and be grateful.


We have all been there, the snapping at anyone within a 5-mile radius, the endless trips to the coffee machine, wanting to leap across an office desk when a work colleague sighs and says they only managed to get 9 hours sleep last night.


According to the NHS website, studies have suggested that the following has been linked to sleep deprivation:

  • Low sex drive

  • Increased risk of heart disease

  • Loss in mental well-being

  • Lower immunity.

You know what else the NHS website stated?


‘Don’t rely on caffeine or energy drinks as a short-term pick-me-up. They may boost your energy and concentration temporarily, but can disrupt your sleep patterns even further in the long term.’


Don’t rely on caffeine!!!! What the Devil?!? Going private!


RESEARCH

There is an abundance of research being carried out into the areas of sleep deprivation and its impact on day-to-day life. It was in fact difficult to narrow it down to just one, so instead I decided to opt for the less scholarly approach and go for….


...SLEEP DEPRIVATION FUN FACTS!!!!!

Did you know that Randy Gardner (born August 7, 1949) is the person who has intentionally gone the longest without sleep, without the use of a stimulus?

This duration being, 11 loooooong days, and 25 loooong minutes. I feel like I have topped this ten times over.


TESTS

In case the panda type dark circles under your eyes weren’t enough of a give away, here is a fun quiz to find out whether you are sleep deprived.


Another more physical test is called the ‘Sleep Latency Test’. This is a diagnostic tool used to test excessive daytime sleepiness by measuring the time it takes for you to fall asleep.


This can be seen demonstrated by Dr Michael Mosley here in this clip taken from the BBC’s, ‘The Truth About...Sleep’.



According to the National sleep foundation, the recommended amount of sleep needed is as follows:

  • Newborns (0-3 months): Sleep range narrowed to 14-17 hours each day (previously it was 12-18)

  • Infants (4-11 months): Sleep range widened two hours to 12-15 hours (previously it was 14-15)

  • Toddlers (1-2 years): Sleep range widened by one hour to 11-14 hours (previously it was 12-14)

  • Preschoolers (3-5): Sleep range widened by one hour to 10-13 hours (previously it was 11-13)

  • School age children (6-13): Sleep range widened by one hour to 9-11 hours (previously it was 10-11)

  • Teenagers (14-17): Sleep range widened by one hour to 8-10 hours (previously it was 8.5-9.5)

  • Younger adults (18-25): Sleep range is 7-9 hours (new age category)

  • Adults (26-64): Sleep range did not change and remains 7-9 hours

  • Older adults (65+): Sleep range is 7-8 hours (new age category) 

But with modern day life, work, children, how can you possibly get enough sleep?


You know, the sleep necessary to stop you from committing a crime that will make international news, simply because you haven’t slept, and someone spoke to you in the wrong octave.


Well…what if there was a place you could go to get some sleep, all in the safe knowledge that your little one(s) were being looked after whilst you caught forty winks?

This is the question Tristana Rodriguez asked herself when she came up with the idea of The Sleep Crèche.


A BIT ABOUT THE SLEEP CRÈCHE


The idea of The Sleep Crèche is that parents have a safe space to bring their children to be cared for, so they can nap for an hour, or decompress, in a peaceful environment. As a paid service it is hoped that this might be the sort of thing you would, say, give to a friend as a baby shower gift. But the vision is a little bigger than that. The idea is to set up a not-for-profit enterprise, so that the income from the paid service enables funded places which health visitors could make available to families who are really struggling.


Tristana herself explains why there may be a need for ‘The Sleep Creche’.


“As a health visitor I often heard from parents at their wits' end struggling with sleep deprivation. This stress would impact on their relationships with their partners, families, friends and work. It can drive any of us to actions we would never normally be capable of. After all, sleep deprivation is used as a torture strategy!
Health visitors have many excellent resources to offer parents in terms of getting infants into a healthy sleep routine, but what's healthy for infants doesn't necessarily work for grown adults with 101 other commitments! I have noted a real lack of support to offer when it comes to just coping with the sleep patterns of the typical infant or young child. As a parent, I know how hard this can be first hand, and in my work I saw the impact it has on families.
The possibilities for The Sleep Crèche are endless!
Infant sleep and mental health is an emerging field, and I believe there is so much more to learn in supporting struggling parents in this area. Sleep Crèche could provide the perfect hub for research on the impact of parental sleep deprivation on society, and on evidence based ways to help.”

Although, at present time The Sleep Crèche is still in it’s developmental phase, we eagerly await its arrival.


If you have any ideas about what you would want from a sleep crèche or want to hear more, please feel free to join the Facebook Page.


Good luck everyone, may your coffee cups be forever full.

x


To discuss hiring Max as a freelance writer, please contact: max@maxineknightwrites.com


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