Rockstar Dads Use This Secret That Most Dads Ignore
Life As A Dad Is Full
There are way too many days in Fatherhood where it feels like we’re showing up or getting things done just in the nick of time. We’re out of breath, exhausted and not often on our top game. Yes, we got our tasks done, but it wasn’t pretty.
Overlapping responsibilities, errands, and commitments that we make keep our lives full. In our home life there are the demands of the people we love (like our family), who have needs and expectations. At work we have demands that are align with our commitments to clients, partners and bosses. Then there are the self-assigned jobs that we give ourselves, either to service for others or our well being.
Life on the GoGoGo Train
Life was busy enough BEFORE we had kids, but I don’t remember it being hair-on-fire, forgot-to-put-underwear-on, haven’t-showered-in-a-week busy as it can be as a Dad. Every day can feel like there’s a new commitment or responsibility on our plate that puts us at risk of the whole thing falling apart.
You may recognize yourself in the life I call the “Dark-to-Dark Syndrome”, where you frequently leave the house before it gets light out and return home after it’s already dark.
“It’s All About Them” Is A Losing Game For Everyone
In all of this running around with overlapping commitments and responsibilities, it’s easy to forget all about your needs, because you’re caring for the needs of your family and others. And this doesn’t address the missing time for you to recharge your batteries.
“Self-care,” is that nebulous, all-encompassing phrase that is thrown around and seems so foreign to most Dads in their day-to-day lives. The Dad version of self-care seems simpler and more utilitarian: Getting a haircut, watching a football game uninterrupted, or having a beer with a buddy seems more like our speed.
When I hear self-care, it brings to mind a massage, a spa day (has any man actually done one of those?) warm breezes and wearing a sarong on a warm South Pacific beach (well, it does for me anyways). Nice, but unrealistic.
So what can we do to “up our game” to take better care of ourselves? Your sanity (sorry “peace of mind”), productivity and creativity all hinges on one important asset: sleep.
Not Sleeping Enough is Expensive
Lack of sleep for fathers is epidemic, it has SUCH an impact that it is the first thing I address when supporting Dads. As a country, we are a sleep deprived population, and as a demographic (parents, men, entrepreneurs) we’re doubling down on the phenomenon. The Health implications are staggering. A Johns Hopkins article reports the staggering impacts of sleep deprivation.
- 50% Increased Risk of Obesity
- 3X Increased Risk of Type 2 Diabetes
- 36% Increased Risk of Colorectal CANCER
- 48% Increased Risk in Heart Disease
- 33% Increased Risk of Dementia
- Across the board increases in the risk for Depression, Anxiety, Irritability, and Forgetfulness
Feels like kind of a wake-up call, huh?
Sleep is the KEY to a Take-Charge Mindset
Sleep isn’t just important as a bodily need, it informs the way we see everything in our lives. When we get enough sleep, we have energy reserves, we feel more optimistic, we have the capacity to handle challenges as they arise, and we have the ability to manage ourselves better.
The lack of sleep is equally as impactful on our day-to-day mindset and health. It’s no accident that sleep deprivation is the first (and most effective) form of interrogation. Being deprived of sleep has VERY predictable and powerful impacts on your psyche.
But if you’re like most Dads out there, you already knew some of the impacts listed above. But what can we do about it?
Let’s Get Practical: Here’s How To Get More Sleep
- Make sleep a priority: Sleep has across-the-board positive impacts for your life. To get more of it (even if falling asleep is difficult now), you need to decide that it is important enough to put some planning and energy into.
- Exercise Regularly: Regular exercise is key to my sleep. Regular cardio and weight lifting makes all the difference. The weight lifting allows me to push myself, and is a natural testosterone stimulant. The cardio allows my body to release stress and unwind from my day.
- Create a consistent Bedtime and Waking Time: Make a consistent time that you go to bed and get up, this pattern signals your body to get drowsy at the appointed time. Plan for 7-8+ hours of sleep (you know how much you need).
- Avoid stimulants: Caffeine, nicotine, and chocolate can interfere with good sleep. Other things that can interrupt sleep includes late eating, alcohol and cannabis.
- Put your electronics to sleep before you: Plan for 1 hour of down time at the end of the evening where there are no screens in front of you. An “Electronics Bedtime” for tablets, laptops, phones, TVs and computers allows your brain to unwind from the visual stimulation of modern electronics.
Implementing these 5 steps will bring more sleep, more peace of mind and fire up a Take-Charge attitude. Your family, health and future thanks you!