Fatigue puts young dads at risk

Richard Dymock and wife Alesha with sons five-month-old Jarvis and three-year-old Cy.
Richard Dymock and wife Alesha with sons five-month-old Jarvis and three-year-old Cy. Jacklyn Wagner

A YOUNG dad from Lismore can understand why a new study has found working fathers with young babies can suffer from dangerous levels of fatigue.

Richard Dymock, 30, works part-time as a teacher while also running his own graphic design and video production business called 'Goldsky Creative'.

He and his partner, Alesha, have two children - Cy who is three and five-month-old Jarvis.

"I remember thinking with our first child that I had gone almost nine months without a full night's sleep," he said.

Mr Dymock said fatigue has never affected his work but it's when he does have time to relax that he feels tired.

"To a degree the adrenalin of the first few weeks gets you through but after that it gets closer to exhaustion and you start forgetting stuff."

"Even yesterday I lost my keys four times in the one day and I said to my friend - I need to get better sleep."

Mr Dymock's experience is backed up by a new study which shows working fathers with new babies experience cumulative fatigue that could put them in danger at work.

Southern Cross University senior lecturer Dr Gary Mellor and Dr Winsome St John of Griffith University conducted the research with 241 fathers who were mostly from the Gold Coast.

Dr Mellor said the surveys, which were conducted six weeks and 12 weeks after the birth of a child, showed many of the fathers were experiencing "profound" fatigue.

"Fatigue is a concept of an unrelenting exhaustion and one night's sleep won't get rid of it," he explained.

Published recently in the American Journal of Men's Health, the research found new dads were 1.5 times more likely to have a near miss at work or on the road to and from work than someone else.

"To some degree they have to be treated as people at risk," Dr Mellor said.

"The concerning thing is that a fair amount of these men identified as construction workers and tradesmen and builders so they could be using equipment like cranes and nail guns... So our biggest worry was that these men were really struggling through sleep deprivation and fatigue while using equipment that is quite risky."


How do you cope with being tired? Leave a comment below.

Topics:  babies dads fatigue men's health

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