Why Am I So Tired?

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“Why am I so tired?”

That’s a question I hear a lot. From friends, family, strangers. But mostly from myself.

It’s a rhetorical question, of course, because I know why I’m tired.

It’s called being a parent.

I remember a time when I never thought about sleep. When I could stay up until 1 or 2 in the morning, then get up at 6am and head to work with a focused mind and enough energy to get me through my day.

Then came children. And worries. Lots of them. And they only multiply over the years (the worries, but sometimes the kids too).

Now that my kids are teens, one of my biggest worries is whether they get enough sleep, as sleep deprivation is a huge danger to the developing brain of a teenager. Each morning I ask them if they slept well, and each night I remind them to go to bed early, turn off phones, and give their brains a chance to recharge.

I’m like the airline passenger who ignores the flight attendant’s instructions to “put your oxygen mask on first before helping others.”

I keep forgetting to worry about my own sleep. And yet, that question persists.

“Why am I so tired?”

You can imagine how happy I was when Beautyrest sent me their Sleeptracker monitor to help me collect data about my sleeping habits, so that I can make some positive changes to my daily routine in the hopes of improving my role as a parent.

It’s really difficult to be good at anything when you’re sleep deprived. Even though my teens don’t need as much of my attention as when they were younger, one of them still relies on me for driving her to the myriad of activities she’s involved with seemingly every single day of the week.

Driving while tired is a recipe for disaster, so I was quick to set up the Beautyrest Sleeptracker monitor on my bed. The installation was simple. You place the sensor between your mattress and box frame and it magically monitors your movements, breathing, and heart rate through the night. The product actually comes with two sensors, one for each side of the bed if you share it with a partner. The sensors connect to a small processor that can sit on the floor, and then each night’s data is streamed to a smartphone app that you can download for free.

That’s not magic. Just amazing science and technology to improve your life.

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It’s an extremely well-designed product, much better than the invasive wearable sleep monitors that I’ve seen in the past. The Beautyrest Sleeptracker monitor measures things like how long it takes to fall asleep, the various sleep cycles, body movement, and heart rate. It then makes suggestions on simple changes you can make to your routine to feel better rested.

The key, really, is to understand how you are sleeping, so rather than ask, “Why am I so tired?” you can instead ask, “What am I going to do about it?”

After only a week of using the Beautyrest Sleeptracker monitor, I was already feeling more refreshed because of the personalized coaching that the Sleeptracker app offers each day based around my sleep habits.

Something as simple as letting the product change your wakeup time by 15 minutes through the Smart Alarm feature can make a world of difference in how you feel for the rest of the day. I’m hopeful that continuing to monitor my sleep, and following through on making changes, will give me the energy and focus I need for on my parenting journey. #ISleepTo be a better dad.

Learn more about the Beautyrest Sleeptracker monitor on their website. Or follow them on Facebook. Don’t wait to get it for yourself, so you can stop asking that question, “Why am I so tired?” Even with everything a parent needs to worry about, there’s no reason you should be losing sleep.

I have partnered with Life of Dad and Beautyrest for this campaign, but my opinions are my own.

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No Sleep Allowed

Sometime last year I wrote a post about our daughter finally staying in her own bed through the night.

Her success was short-lived, unfortunately, but she did show definite signs of progress.

By late fall, she was in her room most nights from bedtime until morning.

So, finally, mom and dad could get some uninterrupted sleep, right?

Wrong.

In December, one of our cats died.

His brother was lonely and decided that the best place for him to sleep at night was with me.

More specifically, with my feet.

He loves my feet, wrapping himself around them at the end of the bed as if he’s guarding a stash of catnip.

It sounds very cute, but it means that my legs stay motionless throughout half the night. For someone with restless legs, this is not a good thing.

No, I don’t have the heart to shut him out. He would only wander the house yowling in pain for his lost brother, which would wake up the kids, who would run to our room in fear of cat ghosts, and then I wouldn’t get even half the sleep I’m barely enjoying now.

Thomas Edison had it right with his 15-minute naps spread throughout the day. Maybe that’s what new parents should train themselves to do, so they’ll be ready for the kids with the nightmares and the cats with the depression.

Strange Changes

I’ve made some changes to the blog… First, I moved all of my blog rolls to their own pages. It’s getting more difficult to keep up with all the parenting blogs that are coming and going.

Second, I installed Google Reader’s post-sharing feature. It’s over there on the right, down below the AllPosters ad. I labeled it as “Phil’s Friends”… Basically, whenever I see an interesting post among the 140 or so blogs I subscribe to through Google Reader, I can “share” that post and it will appear in the box to the right. A very cool new feature from Google!

I’ve also been fiddling with my FTP features. If the blog is all messed up, someone will let me know… right?

In parenting news, we’re going furniture shopping this weekend to buy my daughter a bed. She’s been on a twin mattress on top a simple metal frame, but we talked with her about getting some kind of girly four-poster type of bed that she could be proud of and feel good about sleeping in all night.