Here’s an interesting story from The New York Times regarding sleep deprivation and cognitive abilities. A study was done to determine the end result of 4, 6 or 8 hours of sleep and the results were shocking, yet oddly comforting.
“All told, by the end of two weeks, the six-hour sleepers were as impaired as those who, in another Dinges study, had been sleep-deprived for 24 hours straight — the cognitive equivalent of being legally drunk.”
Now I know why I can’t remember where I put the overdue library book and I stumble on my words when I’m speaking to someone important. I’m freaking exhausted, or according to the experts, I’m equivalently drunk. I thought I was just losing my mind, but it turns out, every time a child wakes me up in the middle of the night, they are innocently sapping my inner resources for the next day. And sleep deprivation accumulates, continuing to affect your abilities every day you lose out on sleep, causing a deficit that is nearly impossible to catch up on in just a few mornings of sleeping in.
I remember my mom breaking the news to me when I became pregnant with my first child that once you become a mother you will never sleep again. Because even when they are no longer peeing the bed and waking you up at 3:00am for a glass of water, it gets worse. They learn to drive and leave the house and don’t always come home when they should, leaving worried parents everywhere wide awake in bed fearing the worst.
So to all sleep deprived, drunk mamas everywhere, here’s to us. Raise your imaginary glass and stand proud. You might be forgetful or fall asleep with pasta water boiling on the stove, but you’re a damn good parent. We can sleep when we’re dead right?!