We asked our Content and Creative Manager, Jason Burg, to give his two cents on balancing fatherhood, work life, and those elusive zzzs.
I love being ‘Dad’ to two smart, high energy kids. They constantly ask me questions about anything and everything and I entertain each and every question because I love seeing their minds spill over with knowledge. They’re always excited to go to the beach, kick the soccer ball around, go to the pool and play around on skateboards. That’s why Father’s Day means so much to me – it’s the day that recognizes the incredible bond dads have with their kids. It’s also the day that I ask to be alone for a few hours. Why? Because being a dad is exhausting! All that running around, dropping and picking up kids from school, going to soccer practice, attending plays, making dinner, and constant cleaning up can really take a toll on your mind and body and throw a wrench into your regular sleep routine.
Take a little time to recharge
Taking a few hours to yourself to do something that you enjoy can really help re-energize the mind and body and help some of the stress of work and parenting fade away. For me it’s a surfing. For others, it’s golf or yoga. It’s also a good time to take a well-deserved nap. Napping offers the benefits of relaxation, improved mood, alertness, and better performance, including memory. A short 10 – 30-minute nap can do wonders for rejuvenating, just be sure not to sleep too long or it could interfere with your sleep routine that night. According to the Mayo Clinic, “The longer you nap, the more likely you are to feel groggy afterward. Take naps in the afternoon. The best time for a nap is usually mid-afternoon, around 2 or 3 p.m. This is the time of day when you might experience post-lunch sleepiness or a lower level of alertness.”
Maintain a regular sleep schedule
A good way to stay one step ahead of the kiddos is to make sure you’re getting enough sleep each night. The best way to accomplish this is to follow a regular sleep schedule that includes a consistent bedtime and wake-up time – even on the weekends. Fortunately, for parents of small children, this is easier than it is for our more youthful friends who still look forward to staying out late every Saturday night! The National Sleep Foundation recommends staying consistent. “Pick a bedtime and a wake-up time—and stick to them as much as possible. That way your body’s internal clock, also known as your circadian rhythm, will get accustomed to a new bedtime, which will help you fall asleep better at night and wake up more easily in the morning.”
In the morning, make sure to get outside as quickly as possible to soak in some morning sunlight. Not only does this help you wake up, it sets you up for a better night’s sleep later that night by getting your body used to the routine of associating darkness with sleep, and light with waking up.
Men and sleep
When it comes to getting enough sleep, men and women each have different requirements and factors which can affect the quality and quantity of sleep we get. While women generally need more sleep than men, we typically stay up later. Evidence also suggests that men tend to stress about marriage/divorce, kids and money more regularly. Research shows that men and women both stress equally about their jobs and employment, however.
Snoring also tends to show up more regularly in men than women. According to a 2002 National Sleep Foundation Poll, nearly 90 million people snore to some degree at night. Speaking to your doctor about your sleep debt or snoring is an important step to ensuring it’s not something more serious, like insomnia or sleep apnea.
Sleep helps you rise to the occasion
Now let’s talk about something that might really get the attention of the other dads out there. Sleep deprivation is shown to cause an increase in erectile dysfunction. Since men produce testosterone when they sleep, testosterone production drops significantly the more sleep loss men experience. In one study done on military recruits subjected to severe sleep deprivation, their testosterone dropped as much as 70%. The bottom line is that sleep and sexual function are clearly related. Making sure good, quality sleep is a priority could also improve your sex life.
You earned this
So, this Father’s Day, take time to focus on YOU, including paying attention to your sleep. You’ve earned it. Not only will focusing on sleeping better improve your overall mind and body health in multiple ways, it will give you the energy to get back to what matters most – being a rad dad!
Happy Father’s Day!