Do you find yourself being short with your kids? You are NOT alone!! Anger is a physical and mental reaction in the brain and body, sometimes before you even know it is happening. Research shows there is a correlation between anger and exhausted parents. A sleep deprived parent is more likely to react out of anger. When you are exhausted from the day, your ability to use patience can be challenging.
According to Dubin, Minna. “I Am Going to Physically Explode’: Mom Rage in a Pandemic.” [The New York Times], “With coronavirus concerns, stay-at-home orders, financial instability and mounting civil unrest, it is no surprise that mothers are experiencing intensified anger.” There are so many unknowns right now which is causing more and more stress for parents. And as Sleep Consultants, we know that stress greatly impacts our ability to get a good night’s rest.
So, what can you do?
Let’s start with getting quality sleep.
Have a set bedtime routine and schedule:
Adults require 7-9 hours of sleep each night in order to stay well-rested. Parents making their sleep a priority, are you for real? Yes, and it is possible with a few quick changes. Try going to bed at an early and consistent time. And create a relaxing routine to help prepare your mind and body for sleep.
Use sleep tools to promote better sleep:
Sleep tools can help you create an optimal sleep environment by eliminating unwanted noise or distractions. Such as: noise machines, eye mask, ear plugs, blackout curtains, or weighted blankets.
Implement relaxing techniques before bedtime:
Practice yoga and/or meditation before bed to help calm the mind and body. Yoga implements great stretching techniques for relaxing the body, and meditation uses breathing techniques to help calm the mind. There are several free apps for meditation – just search “sleep”. Hit play and then put your phone out of reach (it will turn off on it’s own).
Eliminate screen time as part of your bedtime routine:
Screens emits blue light which impacts our sleep hormones. In other words, screens fight our body’s ability to prepare for sleep. If you can limit screen time at least an hour before bedtime, you will be able to fall asleep easier.
Create a docking station OUTSIDE your bedroom for your phone, I-Pad, laptop, etc. Choose a place in your home to put all your devices away before going to bed. This will help your entire family get better sleep.
With these quick and easy tips, you will find that you and your family will have healthier sleep habits. And it will help you become a well-rested family.
Feelings of Rage
Now, let’s talk about anger. Please know that even well rested parents can struggle with this. We all can slip up and use anger as a parenting response from time to time. However, if you are anything like me, the parenting guilt can be a tough one to get over. So, what can you do to help control your anger? Here are some strategies you can try:
- Identify your triggers. Better understanding standing your triggers will help you manage your anger.
- Be proactive. Plan activities to stay busy and active. Get out of the house and enjoy a change in the daily routine.
- Replace yelling or screaming with humor. Research has shown humor can help kids disengage from problematic behavior (I.e. trigger). Let’s face it, laughter is better any day!
- Get it out. Find a better way to express your frustrations. Try walking away and taking a break, write it down, talk to someone, or scream into a pillow.
- Put a pin in it and address the issue when your calm. Remember, you can always come back and teach the lesson or have a talk with your kiddo. This does NOT mean you are letting them off easy. Instead, it is about knowing when you can demonstrate how to handle your emotions and communicate them in a healthy way.
- Ask for help! This one is tough for me. But when you find you are at your wits end, reach out to family and friends. Have them take the kids for a few hours and allow yourself to relax. We all need a break from the everyday pressures of parenting.
Just remember, you are not alone. We all struggle with exhaustion and sometimes anger. Becoming a well-rested parent will help you manage your mental health as well. Take each day as a new day. You’ve got this! We are here to help, so if you have any questions, let’s connect.