I LOVE Sleep! How To Cope With Lack Of Sleep0
I have a friend who just gave birth to twins! Hooray! Thinking about having newborns in the house reminded me about the painful sleep deprivation that we experienced the first 14 months with Ben. PAINFUL. Now we are having 12-13 hours of solid blissful toddler sleep and it is almost hard to remember the pain that sleep deprivation created. There is a survival mode that you enter just to make it through each day and this is okay!
How can you survive sleeplessness with a baby to parent and a life to live? All I really know is that you will find out that you actually can exist on a lot less sleep than you think. I used to be, and am again, a person who needs 9 hours of sleep at night in order to feel really really good. I function my best when I get 9 hours but can totally be okay on 7 hours.
When Ben was a baby I was waking up every 1-3 hours every night for 10 months. After Ben stopped nursing at night my husband did 90% of the night time parenting. I have written about sleep before because the lack of it was traumatic for me! I knew that having a baby meant less sleep but I didn’t really fully understand until I was right in the middle of it. A good girlfriend recently told me that she couldn’t tell I was sleep deprived during Ben’s first year. Either she is just being a very good girlfriend or I hid it semi well.
How To Survive Daily Life With Lack Of Sleep
1. Have a shower! Even if you feel like a big pile of crap from being up all night get in the shower. Even if you have to take your babies and put them in a bouncy chair as they scream bloody murder, have a shower. A 3 minute shower will make a world of difference and you will have clean hair.
2. Get dressed! I know you will feel like staying in your pajamas all day and all night but it will make you feel gross at the end of the day. Getting dressed signals that you have a day and you have a night. If you can accomplish these two things you are doing amazing.
3. Go outside! I would mostly end up wearing Ben in a sling to go outside. Most of the time I did not want to leave the apartment but it ensured that I got dressed. It would usually be a very short outing because I did not have any physical energy to actually walk more than a couple of blocks but it made me feel like I had accomplished something.
4. Coffee is your new best friend! I didn’t drink coffee while pregnant but I did drink one delicious latte a day when Ben was a baby. A large latte that is. My daily coffee run made me get a shower, get dressed and get outside! Around 3 PM every day I would go out and walk to the closest coffee shop. Pick up my latte, wave to all the regulars that got to know me and would sip the delicious hot coffee. I would not have been able to survive the sleep deprivation without this daily fix. If you did, you are freaking amazing!
5. Realize that the things you are giving up right now are going to be (mostly) temporary. I had to give up seeing some friends, keeping in touch, returning phone calls and a lot of my old life but this allowed me to survive! Sleep deprivation can make you terribly foggy and slow. Let’s hope you have understanding friends who won’t take it personally and maybe even kinder friends who drop off food and muffins and….bring you a coffee! See how I worked that in there.
6. Under eye make up will become your second best friend. Lack of sleep always adds up. Your body wants you to sleep and wants you to have REM cycles but sometimes there is a wailing demanding infant that gets first priority. I invested in some great touche eclat from Yves St. Laurent.
7. Generally most people won’t really care about your lack of sleep. People will be like, ‘Oh I’ve been there, I’ve done that!’ and lack complete sympathy for you. My sister once gave me a good pointer not to complain about your lack of sleep too often. Either this was a very kind pointer or a suggestion to shut up. Either way it is a good one. I know that when you are tired all you will be thinking about is how tired you are and how you haven’t slept more than 3 hours in a row, realize that reporting this frequently might not be the best thing.
8. Recruit your family! When Ben was breastfeeding I did all the night shifts and night wakings and day wakings all around. My husband would give me chances to nap and my youngest sister would come by and take care of Ben and let me snooze. A 1 hour snooze will make you feel like you can conquer the world!
9. Don’t pay attention to those people in your life who like to constantly remind you how their babies slept through the night at 7 days old. Start tuning them out as soon as you hear them bragging. Alternately, if your baby was an awesome sleeper don’t be bragging to people with big circles under their eyes. Your stories are not appreciated. This is the truth.
10. Snooze when you can. This is old news but some times it is hard to do. If your babies are sleeping you will want to do 101 things (like write blog posts) but don’t, sleep when you can! A snooze on the couch can really make you feel like a million bucks.
Of course I know sleep deprivation from motherhood but also from being a shift worker. I know the pain of being awake all night and just wanting to go to sleep. The other night was so busy and I did not rest at work at all. Most of the time I will snooze on my break but this night shift there was no snoozing. Of course I felt like falling asleep at 0400 but there was no option to do that. It is amazing how little sleep you can go on and how you just have to push yourself though.
Do you have any tips to add to the list? How do you survive lack of sleep? Please tell!!