How Sleep Patterns Can Affect Parenting Skills

Have you noticed that on days when you wake up refreshed, you do not get as angry with your children as compared to nights when you barely caught a few winks? A recent study shows that sleep patterns may have a major impact on parenting skills, particularly for mothers.

The Importance of Sleep

Sleep is an integral part of our daily routine and good sleep is necessary for maintaining mental and physical well-being. As we enjoy a good night’s sleep, the brain continues to work, getting the body ready for the next day.

Just like the brain, other parts of the body also remain active by repairing and rejuvenating parts that were probably used a lot during the day. Studies show that sleep deficiency may increase the chances of developing various health conditions like heart diseases, diabetes, high blood pressure and even kidney problems.

Sleep and Maternal Parenting Skills

It is a known fact that parents, especially of young children, are sleep deprived. But this study shows that if the trend of sleep deprivation continues, it could lead to some disruption in maternal parenting skills as the child grows.

A recent study conducted by researchers at the University of Illinois found a link between a mother’s sleep patterns and “permissive parenting during late adolescence.” Children between the ages of 11 and 18 are dependent on the parents and it is important for them to get a good social and emotional foundation at this stage to grow into well-behaved adults.

The sleep patterns of 234 women were studied with the help of actigraphs, sleep trackers worn on the wrist, which these women wore for seven nights at a stretch.

One of the main findings of this study was that women who slept better through the night were less likely to resort to permissive parenting, a more relaxed approach to disciplining adolescent children.

The study also found that the link between improper sleep in mothers and a lack of discipline in adolescent children was more in African-American mothers and women with difficult economic backgrounds. Researchers found that women who had poor sleep or who took longer to fall asleep each night were tired physically and emotionally in the morning, which severely impacted their ability to focus on the children.

While all parents focus on their child’s health, they often forget that just like a child needs the stipulated seven to eight hours of sleep, so do they in order to function properly.

Sleep Patterns Affect Maternal Parenting Skills

Tips for Getting a Good Night’s Sleep

We understand that you may have a busy life, but keep in mind that to maintain the delicate work-life balance you need to be healthy. To achieve that, it is essential to get the required amount of sleep every night. Though it may be difficult, here are a few tips:

  • Get enough sunshine:

    Ample exposure to sunlight is said to help you sleep better in the night. Sunlight helps the body set its circadian rhythm and once you get to bed in the night, the body knows that it is time to sleep. Just make sure you don’t have too many bright lights in the room, or else the body will be stimulated to stay awake.

  • Avoid caffeine and heavy dinners: 

    For people who have trouble falling asleep, experts recommend avoiding caffeinated drinks up to six hours before bedtime. It is also better to sleep on a fairly light stomach to support the digestive system.

  • Follow a routine:

    You probably have your kids go to bed at the same time every night, especially on school nights. You should be doing the same thing, to regulate your sleep-wake cycle.

  • Sip on hot tea:

    You could sip on herbal teas like lavender, chamomile, passionflower and valerian that are known to induce and support good sleep.

Regardless of how old your children are, as a parent, you should remember that in order for you to function properly, your body needs its recommended shut eye and only if you function properly will your children benefit from your amazing parenting skills.


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Weingus, L. (2018, May 23). Does Sleep Affect The Way You Parent? This New Study Says Yes. Retrieved from

Sleep better, parent better: Study shows link between maternal sleep and permissive parenting. (2018, May 21). Retrieved from