I am pretty sure there isn’t actually a real medical condition called parenting induced insomnia (PII), but there should be. Technically I guess it should be parenting induced sleep deprivation. I am pretty sure I could sleep if just given the chance. Regardless, I thought I would take some time and look into the details of this anomaly. I am sure our family isn’t the only one that suffers from this every now and then.
What It Is:
As we get older (I said older, not old) our bodies need slightly less sleep. Don’t let this fool you though. Our bodies also have a harder time functioning when we cheat on sleep as well. Our long enjoyed habit of shorting our sleep during the week and catching back up on the weekend runs head long into the 24/7 job of parenting. At least for me, parenting seems to win most of the time. We no longer have the flexibility to simply crash. The real problem, however, is that we have just as much to do (outside of parenting) and now have drastically less time to do it. This would explain why I was patching a flat tire on our Van at 1 am (don’t ask).
So, we have the need for more consistent sleep. We also have more demands on our time and less time to meet the demands. Finally we have the precious little ones that have a way of interrupting what sleep we do get. That is what parenting induced insomnia is. Sound familiar? If not, then you are either very blessed, or childless. I am leaning toward childless.
A Few Observations:
From my very informal research into PII I have come up with several observation. Here are the ones on the top of my list; call them Murphy’s Law, bad luck, or simply just how life works. If you have a child, most likely you have experienced at least one.
- If you are completely exhausted and decide to sleep in, your children will wake up an hour early.
- Conversely, if you force yourself to get up so you can be ready to start the day when the kids get up they will set a new record for how late they sleep in.
- If you wake up at 2 am and have an eerie feeling that you are being watched, don’t open your eyes. There is most likely a 3 year-old standing by your bed starring at you.
- The amount of assistance your children will need on a given evening is directly proportional to the amount of work you need to have done by morning.
- The hours between 2 am and 4 am can be a very productive. Knowing this doesn’t help much when the kids wake you up at 7 am.
- A sick child will almost always need your attention the night before an important work presentation.
- A small child with a cold or croup can go from happy to miserable in the distance from your lap to the bed.
- No matter what you tell yourself, you won’t actually sleep in the rocking chair if you are holding a child.
- Preschool children know when you have planned an afternoon nap for yourself. This is why they always wait until the last 20 minutes to fall asleep.
- Even though your child can go to the bathroom by himself, he (or she) will always feel the need to walk across the house and wake you up just so you know he is going to.
As far as I know, the only treatment for parenting induced insomnia is time. As the saying goes, “Time heals all wounds.” Eventually your kids will grow up and move out. At that point, you will wonder where the time went. You may even miss that little 3 year-old starring at you in the middle of the night. Until then, try to get some rest!
As usual, I would love to hear your thoughts on this subject. Do you suffer from PII? Do you know of other causes or treatments? Leave a comment and let me know.