Sleep deprived? Want know how to survive sleep deprivation?
It’s not easy this parenting lark is it? Lark being the operative word because you are probably up with it every morning and it’s good friend the night owl too if you have young children.
Sleep deprivation is actually used as a form of torture by some countries and I can see why. They needn’t bother with all that water boarding stuff, just get them to look after a teething toddler or new baby for a few nights. Being brain numbingly tired eats away at you slowly, night after never ending night, reducing you to a zombie like, only-just-functioning state.
Pretty grim I know.
I have a new baby and am in the throes of the full on “you’re never getting a full nights sleep again” phase. Second time round though, I have learnt a few survival tips to get me through the long sleepless nights and the even longer days that follow. I’m not giving advice on how to get your baby to sleep because I haven’t got a clue, I’m still winging that bit. Anyway I’m going to be brief as, let’s face it, we are too knackered to read for long:
- When you get up in the morning to start your day, drink a big glass of cold water. Not tea. Not coffee. Just water. It hydrates you obviously but the fact it is cold seems to wake your brain up. I do usually make a coffee afterwards but I only ever get to drink half cold, cups of coffee these days. Mum problems hey.
- Don’t fight it. You know you have to get up and you know it’s more than likely you will not get back to sleep for any decent length of time so expect it and make your peace with it. If I do this, then any sleep I do get feels like a bonus and I don’t make myself miserable pining for my bed (Ok that’s a lie). But I know it’s a phase, albeit unpleasant. This won’t last forever.
- Adjust your sleep pattern. This tip does have a slight ‘sleep when baby sleeps’ ring to it but if your baby goes to sleep early, say around 8/9pm then you should too. You might get a few hours of sleep before the night shift starts. I know it might be the only child free time in your day but you’ll benefit from the sleep more than being able to watch Breaking Bad in peace. Or writing your latest blog post…
- If you are breastfeeding, try the horizontal, lying down position. My brilliant health visitor showed me how to do this when she came to visit for the first time and it literally is amazing. You can have a little nap whilst baby has his/her 49th feed of the night. Even if you don’t nap, you still get to lie down. Genius.
- Get out in the fresh air every day if possible. This helps me because a) the fresh air blows away the cobwebs and smell of baby puke and b) I see other people going about their daily lives, which reminds me this is all just a phase and I will rejoin the rest of the smug “I slept all night” general public at some point.
- Meet up with your mum friends so you can all moan and supportively compete with one another over who slept the least amount of hours last night. Mum friends understand. Plus you will probably get cake.
That’s it, that’s all I’ve got for you I’m afraid. Hopefully these tips may help a little. If not, there’s always chocolate and strong coffee.
Do you have a mini sleep stealer in your life? If you have any other tips to share to get us through this sleepless phase then please leave a comment – I’d love to hear from you.