Parents Still Lose Sleep Worrying About Grown Children, Study Confirms
If you are a parent, you know that our children seem to remain our babies regardless of their age. We worry about their health, education, professional success, relationships, income, and wellbeing all the time.
According to the findings of a recent study, numerous parents are still worrying and losing sleep even though their children are adults.
The study conducted by Amber J. Seidel of Penn. State University analyzed the relationship between parent’s worry over their children, and their sleep patterns, and showed that this stress remains into the child’s adulthood.
Seidel, for the CBS News, admitted:
“I feel that many share this value, yet I think much of the socialization in our culture focuses on the family when children are younger.
I seek to study topics that help us understand how family continues to be a central part of our lives throughout adulthood, and I encourage considering family-level influences in all situations.”
This study was published in the journal, The Gerontologist, and involved 186 heterosexual, middle-aged married couples from the Family Exchanges Study. The three main questions of the study were: how much support they offer, how stressed they are, and how much sleep they are getting.
The couples initially had to answer how much support they offered their adult children, from companionship to financial assistance, on a scale of 1-8, 1 being daily and 8 less than once a year or not at all.
Then, they had to rate their worry about their children, on a scale from 1 to 5, and how much stress they experienced while helping their children. They eventually reported the duration of sleep they get every night. The women reported an average of 6.66 hours, and their husbands 6.59.
The findings confirmed that the relationship with adult children can differently affect the sleep quality of middle-aged men and women. The sleep of men was influenced by the stress of giving support, and the sleep of women was affected by anxiety about the support.
Sleep deprivation can have detrimental effects on one’s health, and cause learning, mood, memory issues, and reduced reaction time.
Seidel explains, “It is important to remember that having stress present in our lives is not the problem. It’s the inability to cope in healthy ways with the stress that is problematic and may lead to immune suppression.”
Therefore, we offer several tips on how to avoid such consequences and deal with constant worrying and stress:
Healthy foods maintain the healthy function of the brain and thus promote a healthy sleep.
Exercising offers numerous health benefits, and can help you fall asleep easily.
Limit Alcohol and Caffeine
These worsen anger and lead to anxiety and panic attacks, so make sure you limit their use.
Talk to Someone
You can open up and tell your worries to someone you trust and thus let your feelings out.
Time for yourself
Take some time to do things you love, like listening to your favorite albums, read a book, get a massage, or walk in the park.
Find a way to take part in the activities in the community and stay connected to others in order to fight everyday stress and relax.
Keep a Journal
Your journal can become your best friend if you start writing down your thoughts. This will not hurt anyone and you can express all your feelings.
This will also provide an opportunity for you to control your behavior and stress, and be more aware of the real situation.
Yet, continue loving your children endlessly, as they will always cherish and remember the healthy and positive relationship with their parents.