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There's a reason that sleep deprivation is used as a form of torture.
Nobody can prepare you for the exhaustion of parenting, nor for the revelation that your fatigue doesn't necessarily end when your child finally start sleeping through the night. As I have discovered in my case, the sleep deprivation simply never ends.
My toddlers are going through some serious sleep cycle changes and for the past week or so with my husband being busy with the financial year end frenzy at work, the night time shifts with my boys have fallen on me.
There hasn’t been a single night in the past week when forget about getting my designated five hours of sleep, I haven’t even had two continuous hours! They’ve been waking up at 1 am, completely fresh, bright and alert as if a new day has just begun, walking around, playing with toys....and all this while my poor sleep deprived self is trying very hard to stay awake and not scream with frustration.
Apparently your body builds up some kind of sleep debt, if you haven’t been getting enough sleep at night, you try to make up by taking power naps during the day, else the sleep debt builds up and you fall sick. To this, I just have to say HAHAHAHAHA. Where do you think the time is for a power nap with two hyper active toddlers demanding your attention all day, and additionally your home and work responsibilities to be attended to as well!
So what do we moms do?
How do we survive the day after these sleepless nights?
How do we spend our day as a well-functioning mom when we just spent the night without any rest?
It’s not easy, but it is possible. I can honestly say that I have tried all of these tips at some point and they really do help me make it through the day. Of course, the best way to survive the day is to take a long nap, but I know that is rarely possible. Try these instead:-
1) Drink a tall glass of cold water as soon as you wake up. Most of us go for coffee or tea (I do, too), but a glass of water is actually one of the best things for your body when it’s tired. Not only should you drink water as soon as you wake up, but be sure to stay hydrated throughout the day.
2) Cut back on your to-do and go-to list. I know you have a 101 things to do, but you honestly won’t do any of them well when you are exhausted. It’s pointless to schedule in grocery shopping or a kiddy haircut, which is only going to stress you out more. Unless it’s something important, like an appointment with the doctor or a meeting with your boss, just put it off until a day when you are more rested.
3) Go for a walk. This one requires some serious motivation. I know you just want to curl up on the floor while your baby is playing, but throwing on some sneakers and strapping your baby into the stroller for a quick stroll will work wonders. The exercise is great, and if it’s a sunny day, the extra rays will give you a boost of energy, too. If you can get a family member or a neighbour to watch your child even for 15 minutes, the me time outside will do wonders for your energy levels.
4) Eat a healthy breakfast. Eat like a queen. Even though chewing on things will take more energy than you have accumulated, skipping breakfast, or eating something high in sugar and low in nutritional value, won’t do you any good. I know it usually just makes me feel more tired. A healthy breakfast is definitely the way to go, and don’t forget to snack throughout the day.
5) Do not underestimate the power of a “Power Nap”. If your little one naps for a couple of hours and you just feel like you can’t do the same because you have so much to do, remember that there is definitely some benefit in taking a short power nap (10-20 minutes can work wonders).
6) Take a (cold) shower. A cold shower really does wake you up, especially if you take it first thing in the morning after a sleep deprived night, and keeps you functioning all day long. Most moms can barely find time to take a shower, so any shower is good , but my suggestion would be to avoid hot or lukewarm showers as they generally make me more lazy and give me that “I need to crawl into bed right now” feeling.
Hang in there. The only thing tougher than a sleepless night is making it through the next day. I hope these tips help.
Here’s to all us sleep deprived mommies. May we survive the momsomnia.