Checklist for Sleep-Deprived Parents

 6. Monitor Drinking and Diet

  • Caffeine can help ward off sleepiness temporarily, but watch out for prolonged effects that could disrupt your nighttime sleep.
  • Avoid alcohol. Like caffeine, alcohol can actually disrupt your sleep. Sleep deprivation also magnifies the intoxicating effects of alcohol.

7. Listen to Your Body

  • Tune into your circadian rhythm, which significantly determines when you are most likely to be sleepy or alert.
  • Pinpoint your "slump times" to help you maximize your day.

8. For Women Only

  • Learn how hormonal shifts/menstrual cycles can disrupt your sleep or make you feel sleepier at times.

9.Cumulative Effects

  • Remember that sleep loss accumulates, and sleepiness can overcome you rapidly.
  • If you tend to sleep extra on the weekends, chances are you are not getting enough sleep during the week.

10. Recognize the Signs of Sleepiness

Some of the lesser-known signs include:

  • Trouble with concentration, decision making or productivity
  • Irritability, moodiness or difficulty getting along with others
  • Problems listening to others or remembering

11. Physical Factors Can Influence Sleep

  • Sleep disorders include sleep apnea, periodic limb movement disorder, restless legs syndrome and narcolepsy.
  • Medications and other substances can either cause sleepiness directly (antihistamines, for example) or disrupt sleep (caffeine, nicotine and alcohol).
  • Other, non-sleep disorder, medical conditions include some viruses and infections, as well as those that disrupt sleep, such as asthma, congestive heart failure, and disorders that cause chronic pain.
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