How to survive sleep deprivation

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:

Exhausted? Can't take much more? You need to know how to survive sleep deprivation and as mum of four I'm going to share everything I know to get you through the long days and longer nights. Click through for survival!

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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…
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.





  1. March 7, 2016 / 22:17

    Totally agreed, esp on points 1 & 6. Our first two kids were champion sleepers. Little did we know that we had gotten the “Introductory Models”, explicitly designed to lull prospective parents into how “easy” babies are. #3 has been a real challenge, sleep-wise, esp since my wife and I aren’t the 20-yr-olds we were when we met (try 2x that). Dehydration is a real killer, so I end up being the water-bottle-policeman with us, to make sure we get enough. Also, getting the BABY outside enough seems to be another factor that helps with better sleep.

    • March 7, 2016 / 22:36

      It’s a challenge for sure and they’re all different no matter what we do! Thanks for reading 🙂

  2. March 8, 2016 / 04:53

    You are definitely not alone (I’m writing this at 4am). Water really helps me, I never feel like drinking it but once I do it helps X

  3. March 8, 2016 / 05:54

    Love this. My babes are since sleeping, but I really wish I had read this in the newborn phase xx

    • March 8, 2016 / 07:27

      Thank you and congrats! A full nights sleep is a beautiful thing 🙂

  4. Julia
    March 8, 2016 / 06:29


  5. March 8, 2016 / 08:27

    Ohhh I wrote a post about how sucky sleep deprivation is a couple of weeks ago and could really have used your tips then! It’s so damn hard to cope with. I genuinely never seem to get used to 4-5 hours a night (if I’m lucky) and I am constantly tired, weepy and a “grizzle guts” according to my hubby haha! H x

    • March 8, 2016 / 08:29

      It’s brutal isn’t it. You can link your post here if you like? Just leave it in comments – I love to read other people’s blogs x

  6. March 8, 2016 / 09:06

    Ugh, I don’t know how you mothers do it. I struggle with my day if I get anything under 7 hours sleep, so you’re like a superhero to me <3

  7. Mother Under Measure
    March 8, 2016 / 09:21

    Thankfully my boy has slept right through the night 7-7 since he was 5 weeks old, even sleeping through teething. Sleep deprivation is something I’ve never had to deal with unless he’s poorly, but from those odd occasions I can give nothing but sympathy for mums who have it on a regular basis. I definitely agree with your tips though, water and fresh air fix everything! x

  8. March 8, 2016 / 11:29

    My little boy thought sleeping was for losers until he was nearly two – it almost broke me! No wonder he’s an only child!! #thebabyformula

  9. March 8, 2016 / 14:00

    The only thing that works for me is going to bed early – if I have an evening meeting I’m no good for anything the next day, lol! #thebabyformula

  10. March 8, 2016 / 16:06

    Great tips here. Same as Jess, the only thing that works for me is an early night and another thing is to somehow get a lie in one morning.

  11. March 8, 2016 / 18:13

    I love this, they are all great tips. We are at three months and he’s actually a fairly decent sleeper (for now) but those first weeks are hard work! He is a night owl so lay-ins were the way I caught up on sleep, if anyone wanted me to do anything before 11am I declined! Water is definitely my friend. #thebabyformula

  12. March 8, 2016 / 19:52

    Feeding lying down was a total saviour for me when my little one was up every 2 hours. We’ve switched to bottles now which means Daddy can help which is great but doesn’t stop my toddler getting up at 5am! We’re in bed every night by 9.301

  13. March 9, 2016 / 07:46

    I don’t think I would be able to feed lying down without suffocating a small person, I am a little on the heavy side up top and I could only ever feed rugby ball style. It’s been quite a while since I’ve been in the newborn stage but reading things like this remind me what I am in for if/when I choose to have another! #bloggerclubUK

    • March 9, 2016 / 08:11

      Lol best not then – yep its tough this newborn phase but the smell of your new baby and the lovely cuddles are soo worth it 🙂 thanks for coming over to read x

      • March 9, 2016 / 08:18

        Yes very, very true! X

  14. March 9, 2016 / 08:24

    I wrote a post last year about surviving sleep deprivation and had some similar tips! Toby’s had a good week this past week but at 20 months old he’s only just starting to sleep through 10-12 hours and with another baby due next month I can feel the bags under my eyes growing puffier by the night!xx

  15. March 9, 2016 / 11:34

    Going to bed at 8 was my saviour in the early days. I still do it occasionally now 🙂 #Bloggersclubuk

  16. March 9, 2016 / 17:42

    Ah I have a big sleep thief in my life! I don’t think I’ve slept for more than 2 hours at a time since the 22nd November, I know the date as I was monitoring her sleep at the time. This was when we hit the 4 month sleep regression, and since then I’ve managed to make her go to sleep without the boob in her mouth, but she still wakes really frequently. I completely agree with your tips to get out everyday, and hang out with other Mums, it makes the day easier and also makes it go quicker when you are feeling zombified! I keep telling myself this is just a phase (a long one) and she will eventually sleep for longer. She won’t be waking up every 2 hours when she’s 18! Ha ha. Thanks for sharing. Claire x #BloggerClubUK

    • March 9, 2016 / 17:46

      I really feel your pain Hun but like you said it’s a phase and doesn’t last forever (although it feels like it!) x

  17. March 9, 2016 / 20:56

    Aw bless you I remember these days well, they’re not great but they do pass and your tips for getting through them are great. Stay strong mumma! x

  18. March 12, 2016 / 06:06

    Great post. I have an almost 3 year old who sleeps fantastic but I’m 3 months away from starting again with a newborn. Not looking forward to the sleep deprivation but I think pregnancy is already starting to prepare me as I rarely sleep past 5:30/6am now.

  19. newmummyblogcom
    March 13, 2016 / 21:05

    Very true! Sleep is a precious thing and that first few months is a complete blur. Hope you’re out of it soon x
    Thanks for sharing on #TheBabyFormula

  20. Becky, Cuddle Fairy
    March 14, 2016 / 13:08

    I feel your pain! My second & third children didn’t sleep the night until they were 2. My middle child woke every hour or two. It was a torture. I was amazed how I managed to function at all! Good luck – before you know it this phase will be over & you will be wondering where the time went! Thanks so much for sharing with us at #bloggerclubuk x

    • March 14, 2016 / 13:42

      It can be so awful can’t it! Since I’ve written the post, Sophie has started to sleep (hurrah!) so let’s hope she keeps that up! Thanks for reading x

  21. April 4, 2016 / 19:15

    Oh I feel your pain. I don’t thi I’ve slept a full night in the last 20 months – having both a toddler and a baby. Great tips though I will definitely give the water (before my coffee) a go. #marvmondays

    • Fi
      April 4, 2016 / 19:37

      Yes do! It’s not life changing obviously but it does make a noticeable difference x

  22. April 9, 2016 / 21:54

    Fab post! Expecting baby number two in June and about to return to the world of little or no sleep after being able to forget that this phase ever existing in the last two years. I’ll have to remember some of these when im in the midst of all the night feeds and early mornings, wah! Thanks for linking up to #MarvMondays 🙂 Emily

    • Fi
      April 9, 2016 / 21:58

      Congratulations! You might get a good sleeper you never know! x

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