Written by: Deborah Fisher
The other night, half-awake and shivering, I trudged down the stairs and stumbled for what seemed to be a mile toward the bathroom (we live in a large, old house). It was about 3:30 a.m. and as I rounded the corner, the light blinded me and I squinted to see who was sitting at the dining-room table. I wondered why they were not snug in their bed like I wanted to be at that hour. It was my daughter who sat facing her laptop computer with eyes closed and earphones in.
Maybe she’s praying, I thought. “Ah, what a good girl,” I said quietly. Lord knows, we could all use more of that. (It’s funny the things that go through your mind when you’re half-asleep.) I padded on, heading toward the potty. Suddenly, she JUMPED and nearly fell out of her chair!
Angrily she shouted, “MOM!! What are you DOING?!?”
I’m ashamed to tell you, but this is the honest truth: I thought to myself, “This is my house, and I will go to the bathroom whenever I want! I’m a grown woman!” But trying hard to be a good mom, I answered in my sweetest tone, “I’m going to the restroom, Dear. You really should be in bed.” For weeks, my daughter had been working night and day toward finishing her Portfolio/Capstone project for college.
I had nagged, begged, manipulated, and commanded over the past few weeks trying to help her realize the importance of sufficient sleep and rest. To no avail; you know how kids are. Teens and young adults are so much more intelligent than their parents! Our years of life-experience and education are obsolete and “lame”. Let’s see what the experts have to say about sleep and rest:
The American Psychological Association (www.apa.org/topics/sleep/why.aspx ) states, “Sleep is essential for a person’s health and wellbeing, according to the National Sleep Foundation.” Irritability, moodiness, and disinhibition are the early signs of sleeplessness, followed by apathy, memory impairment, and inability to multitask. As the body becomes more exhausted, micro sleeps (a few seconds) occur causing lapses in attention and nodding off while driving or reading.
Sleep deprivation is costly for us all, especially for teens and young adults. Not only is there a direct relationship between serious illness and sleep deprivation, but thousands of crashes, injuries, and deaths occur yearly in the United States related to sleepiness. Teens and young adults are involved in nearly half of the fall-asleep crashes on the nation’s roads every year. Wow, there’s some good ammunition for taking the keys when the kids are up all night!
As long as our kids live with us and even when they are out on their own, we need to be vigilant about protecting their health and safety. It’s not an easy task, for admittedly adults often have poor sleep habits too. Maybe this will help…
Suggestions for a good night’s sleep:
Sleep 6-10 hours nightly
Keep a regular schedule
Avoid alcohol, caffeine, smoking, and heavy meals before bedtime
Rest in a calm, comfortable environment
Seek medical help if sleep problems persist
Funny, these are the very suggestions that I gave to my daughter. See, Mama’s not as clueless as you think, Dear.