How to cope with lack of sleep!
How to cope with lack of sleep when you’re a tired mum!
We all know that mums, especially new mums are tired, sometimes chronically tired, sometimes just in need of a good catch up nap. Whether you are a new mum dealing with a newborn who needs frequent night feeds, or a parent going through a sleep regression and dealing with multiple wake ups, this blog is for you!
We know lack of sleep is not good for us, studies have shown lack of sleep is associated with more negative emotions, hostility, weight gain, and mum specific – a greater chance of developing post natal depression.
One of the biggest impacts parent notice when we help their entire families get more sleep, is their increase in mood, and how much better they feel emotionally and physically.
But what if right now, there is not a lot you can do to increase your night sleep situation? What are some piratical things to do to help avoid those negative health issues associated with sleep deprivation?
1. Turn your phone off! I know it’s so tempting to scroll through Facebook or Instagram when you are up night feeding. But…. this blast of white/blue light from your phone is actually inhibiting your brains ability to produce melatonin, which you need to quickly go back to sleep once this feed is over.
Your body is producing Oxycontin while you night nurse, this hormone makes you feel very calm, and helps you even feel sleepy, don’t ruin this sleepy feeling with bright light coming from your iPhone! …..Some good news….
The new iPhone iOs update has a night mode function! So if you must scroll Facebook while you night feed, pop your phone on the night mode, which makes the screen have a yellow/orange tinge which doesn’t inhibit the production of melatonin! #win
2. Be kind to yourself! Your sleep debt is real, it is having a real affect on your mood, and cognitive function. So if the choice is to take a nap while your baby does, or do the house hold chores…. take the nap!!!! Sleep is a biological necessity, not a luxury…. repeat after me…. not a luxury. Take the nap!
3. Eat well. I know, this is the last thing you want to hear when you are tired, but avoiding excessive amounts of caffeine and sugar will mean when you get the chance to sleep, or nap, your body will quickly and easily be able to drift off to sleep.
4. Ask for help. This is hard, as lots of don’t live near our extended families anymore. But this doesn’t mean you were designed to raise your baby without a village. Find your village, and then don’t be afraid to ask for help so you can take a nap, or get to bed early in the evening.
5. Get to bed early in the evening, it can be tempting to stay up to watch your old favorite show which doesn’t even start until 8.30pm, but if you do, and you then don’t even get into bed until after 9.30pm, you’re likely not asleep until 10pm, and your baby might wake as early as 11pm! Argh, you just got to sleep!
Forgo the show, and hit the sack at 8.30pm instead, you could score a solid 2.5 hours before that baby wakes you for a feed. Sleep before midnight is super important too, so reconsider your night owl habits if you are a night owl and struggle to wake in the morning.
6. Turn up the music! Had a rough night with little to no sleep? Now expected to parent at least one maybe 2 or 3 young demanding children….. Turn on some music that makes you happy. Spend 5 minutes having a boogy with your children, get those endorphin’s running. Get the children ready and off to school/kindy/pre-school, get the baby down for a nap…. and hit snooze!
7. Get out of the house, snapping at your children because you are exhausted and you can feel your mood suffering? Try loading everyone onto some wheels, stroller, bikes, trikes and go for a walk to your local part (maybe via your favourite cafe).
Some light exercise, fresh air, and change of scenery for everyone will work miracles for your mood and your children’s moods, consequently increasing your tolerance levels! Then hit the sack early when you get home.
8. Don’t drive. The most serious bit of advice in this blog. If you feel seriously tired, chances are your reaction times are as delayed as a drunk driver. So if you don’t feel up to driving, don’t do it.
Call a friend to pick up the children, or the bus can be an exciting adventure! If you feel sleepy while driving, pull over in a safe place, and try to take a nap before driving again, or call for help from someone who can come and pick you up.
I have heard from multiple parents about incidents in their cars which lead them to ask us for help. One mum’s car started to roll away down the hill after she forgot the hand break, another mum realized she was having micro naps on the motorway in her commute to work, and several parents had their first minor car crashes while sleep deprived.
If you know a sleep deprived parent, offer to take her children to the park for an hour and insist she take a nap! The best gift a friend could give!!! Even better if you bring the children back, and fold some laundry or put a meal in the oven.
Emma is the owner and founder of Baby Sleep Consultant, she is a certified infant and child sleep consultant, Happiest Baby on the block educator, has a Bachelor of Science, and Diploma in Education. Emma is a mother to 3 children, and loves writing when she isn't working with tired clients and cheering on her team helping thousands of mums just like you.
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