Many people know that parenting is a challenging time. Whether raising an infant, a toddler or a teenager, the role you play as a parental figure has significant implications on your health. Raising a child is a very stressful responsibility and can have huge demands on your energy levels. These constant levels of stress and tiredness can lead to a whole range of health effects. Parenting can therefore affect your mental health, your cognitive ability, your sleep cycle and many other related aspects of your health. That is why it is important to seek the relevant help at the relevant times. Whether this is in the form of hiring some extra help or more reasonably taking actions to prevent health defects, an intervention is required to maintain a healthy lifestyle. There are a variety of ways to prevent health effects, such as taking up a relaxation exercise like meditation or by taking natural supplements. Click here for more for more health related tips and ways you can better take care of yourself.
Parenting and energy levels
Raising younger children often demands massive amounts of energy to keep up with them in terms of feeding, changing diapers, or simply running after them when they go wandering. Especially in young infants, a parent may be required to wake up several times during the night. This can affect your sleep cycle which leads to decreased levels of energy. Once the infant has grown older and no longer wakes up in the night, the effect on the parents’ sleep cycle can manifest as mild insomnia. Pharmaceutical treatments for this are not recommended because they come with a range of side effects and can even cause dependency. Rather, you should consider taking natural supplements which have strong scientific research to back their ingredients but also don’t produce many side effects. There are also supplements which can simply increase a person’s energy levels during the day, so that they can function properly.
Parenting and brain health
Not many people know the impact that constant levels of high stress can have on brain health. Stress causes an increase in the levels of certain hormones and a change in the levels of certain neurotransmitters (molecules that send chemical messages in the brain and nerves). This is a normal response in order to cope with an acute stressful situation. But when these stressful situations occur consistently, they can have a long-term effect on the change in brain chemistry. This can either lead to mental fatigue, or it can cause certain areas of the brain to become hyperactive. This usually results in a generalized anxiety disorder. It is also possible for this change in brain chemistry to lead to chronically onsetting migraines.
Other effects of stress from parenting
Stress can have a massive range of effects on a person’s health. One of the most important effects it has is that it compromises the immune system. This is a consequence of the release of stress hormones. With the immune system compromised, infections can occur much more easily.
Stress can also increase your blood pressure. Coupled with poor dietary choices, chronic high blood pressure, called hypertension, can cause a heart attack or a stroke. Stress can also affect your digestive system and lead to constipation.
The health benefits of being a parent
The majority of this article has focused on the negative effects that parenting can have on one’s health. This is not to say that there are no benefits or that there are more negative health effects than benefits. It is simply important to watch out for the signs of deteriorating health due to the physiological and mental stress that parenting can cause.
But there are a variety of positive health effects that parenting has. The interaction of a parent with his or her child releases large amounts of a hormone called oxytocin. Oxytocin has a stress reducing effect and many studies have linked it to improving long term general health. The effects of oxytocin can, in part, combat the negative effects of stress. And it almost need not be said that parenting provides a sense of fulfillment that no other life task can provide. Many parents will tell you that despite the large amount of stress it causes, it was all worth it in the end.