SLEEP DEPRIVATION EFFECTS ON MOTHERS (AND HOW TO CHANGE IT!)
By Becky Mansfield
The Effects of Sleep Deprivation (and what you can do about it)
Surprising Sleep Statistics
Did you know that “nearly 50 percent of Americans don’t receive the recommended seven hours of snooze time per night.” – Agility Bed
That statistic from Agility is not the only thing that surprised me today. On top of that, a National Sleep Foundation poll found that 74 percent of stay-at-home moms reported insomnia symptoms. 
Science proves that mothers are exhausted for a good reason. Insomnia and trouble sleeping are often the results of multitasking, keeping up with our busy lives and schedules, taking care of ourselves and others, plus managing our children, home, work, school, and more.
By the time we settle in for the night, it can be tough to fall asleep – difficult to “disconnect’ from everything that is going on in our minds.
I am not talking about being tired only in the physical sense, but also in the mental & emotional sense. We’re always thinking: constantly spinning the wheels in our minds. Our minds never stop.
Sleep Deprivation Effects On Parents
If you’ve ever spent a sleepless night tossing & turning, I’m sure you know all about the effects of that sleep deprivation. You feel tired, grumpy, clumsy, impatient, and just not yourself. That’s just from one night. Imagine if that happens night after night. It begins to add up.
Long-term sleep deprivation effects are real, and they can impact your life and health in many ways. Here are just a few ways that lack of quality sleep takes its toll.
Whether we spend our nights tossing & turning or sleeping soundly, it plays a massive part in how we act, think, and look.
Whether we are tired, impatient, and grumpy, or patient, energetic, and happy… so much of it boils down to how well we are sleeping.
Lack of sleep can take its toll with these sleep deprivation effects:
1. LOSS OF PATIENCE AND HAPPINESS
According to an article published in the journal Sleep, a study found that when a person’s sleep was interrupted for three nights in a row (moms!), it caused significantly worse moods than those who had less sleep overall. A drop in our moods means we are not as happy or patient.
We all know how quickly this impacts the attitude & mindset of our families.
2. DECREASED MEMORY AND FOCUS
According to Agility, when someone gets less than 7 hours of solid sleep, they have a harder time retaining new information or learning. It can even cause drowsy driving incidents. That means that while we tell our kids to get more sleep, we should be following our own advice.
3. FASTER AGING AND QUICKER WEIGHT GAIN.
Sleep deprivation effects can show up pretty quickly. It didn’t come as much of a surprise when I read on Agility that chronic sleep loss may also result in longer-lasting dark circles under your eyes, fine lines, and older-looking skin.
On top of that, “studies suggest people sleeping only six hours or less per night are nearly 30 percent more likely to experience significant weight gain and become obese than people sleeping at least seven hours each night.” – Agility.
4. INCREASED RISK OF DISEASE
Lack of sleep is associated with many health problems including increased risk of diabetes, heart disease, cardiovascular disease, stroke, cancer, and even death.
“In a study involving both men and women over a 10-14 year period, the risk of death was substantially higher amongst participants not receiving enough sleep.” – Agility
5. DECREASED PHYSICAL & MENTAL STAMINA
When we don’t get enough sleep, we aren’t able to do the physical tasks as well as we could if we were sleeping well. Excessive daytime sleepiness leads us to slower reaction time, as this study shows:
A Stanford University study found that college football players who tried to sleep at least 10 hours a night for 7-8 weeks straight improved their average sprint time.
They also found that these football players had less daytime fatigue and had more physical and mental stamina giving them the ability to run faster and play better than their teammates who had poor sleep health and slept less than 10 hours a night.
Similarly, swimmers were placed in a similar study in 2008. At the end of the 2-month long study, they found that the swimmers getting 10 hours of sleep per night could swim faster and react more quickly than the swimmers not getting 10 hours of sleep per night. 
MOMS ARE SLEEP DEPRIVED FOR 6 YEARS ON AVERAGE
We all know that mothers are exhausted after bringing their new baby home and trying to adjust to the baby’s sleep patterns, but did you know that the sleep deprivation effects tend to last six years, on average?
“While having children is a major source of joy for most parents it is possible that increased demands and responsibilities associated with the role as a parent lead to shorter sleep and decreased sleep quality even up to 6 years after birth of the first child,” says Dr. Sakari Lemola, of the Department of Psychology at the University of Warwick. 
In fact, data reveals that before having children, 68% of those surveyed were getting the suggested 7+ hours of sleep. Once they became parents (and for the next six years), only 10% of those surveyed were getting the recommended amount of sleep.
THE ONE (EASY) CHANGE THAT MIGHT BE ALL YOU NEED TO GET THE REST YOU DESERVE.
There are a lot of things that I can tell you, but I’m sure you already know most of them:
- Go to sleep on time and try to keep that time consistent (a regular bedtime is important for your health)
- Limit blue light at night. Blue light sends a signal to your body that it is time to be alert and awake.
- Keep the room cool (people tend to sleep better in cooler rooms.)
However, there is one change that may be overlooked— Your mattress.
THE AVERAGE PERSON SPENDS 33 YEARS OF THEIR LIFE ON A MATTRESS.
When we think about how much time we spend on a mattress, it really puts it into perspective.
The average person spends ⅓ of their life in bed – that’s 33 years on a mattress!
To break it down, even more, that’s 26 years sleeping (227, 760 hours or 9,490 days) and 7 more years trying to fall asleep! 
12,045 days spent on a mattress!
Plus, as a mom, I know that I spend another few hours every night on a mattress between reading bedtime stories, saying prayers, singing lullabies, telling stories, or just snuggling.
Whether you spend that time sleeping well, or tossing & turning all night long, depends a lot on your mattress. According to Michael Decker, Ph.D., RN, associate professor at Georgia State University, and spokesman for the American Academy of Sleep Medicine, “A mattress can impact a person’s sleep.”
STUDIES PROVE THE MATTRESS MATTERS
A quality mattress is key to a restful night of sleep. A 2009 study found that when the participants slept on a new mattress, they saw a “significant decrease in stress” in the areas of worry, nervousness, headaches, irritability, restlessness, racing thoughts, and more. This stress hormone is stronger with sleep-deprived people. Sleep deprivation is a health condition that we can do something about.
We take a lot of time researching mattresses before we buy them. With sleep impacting so many areas of our lives, it’s important to choose a great mattress.
5 THINGS WE LOOK FOR IN A MATTRESS
We recently switched to the Agility® hybrid for these reasons.
1. A Brand That We Trust
Therapedic has been helping people get a great night’s sleep for over 60 years. If you walk into any mattress store, you’ll likely find a Therapedic mattress for sale. The Therapedic Agility Bed is their new hybrid mattress that can be shipped directly to you, in a box. No need to go to a store to find a mattress.
Overall, a bed has to be comfortable. We recently switched to the Agility Bed, and we’ve seen such a difference. The Agility Bed uses a combination of latex, micro-coils, and memory foam to create a great balance of support & pressure relief. It gives a soft, supportive feeling. It even has the latex layer, which stays cooler than other foams.
3. Back & Joint Support
I also look for mattresses that have good reviews from customers with prior back pain. This is a huge factor for me since I have spent years waking up in the morning with back pain. I even woke up, in the middle of the night, due to back spasms. It had become the norm for me, unfortunately.
Since switching to the Agility hybrid mattress and the temperature-regulating pillows), I have not had one morning of pain. It’s been such a relief after years of back pain. I didn’t think I’d ever wake up without a sore and stiff back! I no longer have to dread going to sleep because now I know that I will wake up pain-free. I can’t tell you what a huge improvement that has been for me!
Since switching to our Agility Hybrid Mattress, his joint pain is so much better. I think it has to do with the mini micro pocket coils because they can relieve joint pressure. I’m sure it also helps that the Agility mattress absorbs movement and impact, thanks to the pocketed coils. (He says that I move too much at night, so I guess this has been a bonus feature for him… he doesn’t notice anymore. LOL!)
4. High-Quality Materials
The Agility® hybrid mattress, which is made in the USA, has spent a long time creating the perfect mattress, making sure that every layer in the bed serves its specific purpose. The layers of latex and memory foam, with micro-coils in the middle, are made of the highest quality materials. The high-quality materials have created the most comfortable mattress that has been engineered to Therapedic’s unique specification.
5. They Back Their Claim
It is important to know that a company guarantees their product – it means that it is something that they believe in and have seen others believe in, too. Agility offers the best guarantee that I’ve seen – a 100-night guarantee. This means that you don’t need to go into a mattress store to try it out because now you can try it out at home. You can try the Agility® bed at home with their 100-night free trial. If you don’t love it as we do, they will give you a refund.
YOU’LL BE HAPPIER WITH A NEW MATTRESS
Sleeping all night long, without tossing & turning, gives your mind a break to allow you to feel restored, rested, and rejuvenated. Sleep not only helps you to look your best but to feel your best. It can decrease moodiness and increase your happiness by reducing anxiety and poor attitude. You feel better physically and mentally.
On that note… I’m off to bed! Sleep Well!