Sleep Deprivation Can Turn You Into These 7 Mums
Dear sleepy mum,
When I became a new mum, I expected the first weeks could be rough. Little did I know how challenging it would actually be to run on very low energy levels.
My late nights – or should I say ‘early mornings’ – during my years clubbing vanished into nothingness compared to the ongoing sleepless nights as a new parent.
After 10.5 months, I had become so sleep deprived I just couldn’t handle it anymore. Sleep deprivation made me switch from one mum into the other, and it wasn’t all fun either. I really didn’t like the mums sleep deprivation turned me into, and contacted a sleep consultant for help.
The worst thing is, that sleep deprivation kinda sneaks up on you without realising it. At first, you just feel tired – which is totally normal.
Then, suddenly, you realise it’s a lot more than just being tired. You’ve become absolutely sleep deprived.
1. Always Sleepy Mum
Okay, okay… this one is very obvious! One of the first mums to show up when you’re sleep deprived, is the ‘always sleepy mum’.
‘Always sleepy mum’ will constantly yawn, feel fatigued, show tendencies to doze off during quiet moments, and feel groggy. And with ‘constantly’ I do mean, all the time. You probably started wondering how you’re even managing to walk around.
When you’re sleep deprived, you’ll feel tired ALL the time. You probably feel like a solid 24 hour sleep wouldn’t even be enough to help you feel rejuvenated again.
Because your body is not getting enough energy through sleeping, your brain might keep telling you to get it from food. If you give into this constant hungry feeling (who doesn’t?), it could lead to some weight gain. Make sure you don’t go overboard, so you won’t regret it later.
2. Hungry Mum
Oh dear… this mum’s really not fun if you’re trying hard to loose your pregnancy weight.
Whenever ‘hungry mum’ pops up, it’s best to snack on healthy foods. So instead of grabbing that yummy chocolate piece of cake – mmmh, cake – you’re better off to eat some cut veggies. Strips of carrot, cucumber, and capsicum are popular at our house.
Lately, my daughter and I also really enjoy snacking on a bag of roasted chickpeas or fava beans. They’re great to fill the hole and taste delicious!
3. Impulsive Mum
When you’re sleep deprived, you may find yourself reacting very impulsively on pretty much everything, the smallest things first.
I know that I really struggled with this one. Normally, I’m a calm and patient person, but during my extremely sleep deprived time, it was sometimes best to stay miles away from me.
Whenever ‘impulsive mum’ showed her ugly head, the best thing for me to do was to leave the house once my husband got home. A walk by myself cleared my head and usually calmed me down enough to let this mum go.
When my husband wasn’t home, I tried to go into a different room for a minute and take a few deep breaths. Of course, if you do this, always make sure your baby’s safe!
4. Forgetful Mum
Because your brain is tired and you become all foggy in your head, you may start noticing that you keep forgetting things. Your once perfect memory is suddenly letting you down.
Although this was definitely worse when sleep deprived, I’ve discovered that this seems to come with the mummy territory. Since becoming a mum, I just find that I need to remember so many things that I forget a lot too.
And usually those things involve myself. I always have my little one’s stuff, but often find that I’ve walked out of the door with no water or snacks for myself. Duh!
Not to mention where those car keys always end up to!
5. Clutzy Mum
Oh, how I remember this mum!
Countless evenings I would get undressed and discover a new bruise (or 5). How I managed to get them? No idea! Usually, there wasn’t a day that’d go by without me bumping into the walls, doors, or cabinets. It was crazy!
How happy I was that we’re living in a single floor house. Imagine if I’d have to walk the stairs up and down all the time!
And how about the amount of times you’d find things in the fridge that don’t belong there? Like cereal, or wet wipes. I found my milk once in the pantry.
Ha, I just remembered another good one… It happened on several occasions, when my daughter would wake up in the middle of the night, I’d literally roll out of bed. That’s right, roll out of bed!
I was so tired that I couldn’t even get up properly. I’d sit there for a few seconds trying to understand what happened before getting up and soothe my baby girl.
6. Emotional Mum
As if those new mummy hormones weren’t enough, sleep deprivation makes them ten times worse. Oh, the joys!
Crying with ads that normally wouldn’t even catch your attention, or the opposite… suddenly your husband’s lame daddy jokes become LOL funny!
Pretty much, your emotions will be all over the shop.
7. Unfocused Mum
Mums who suffer form sleep deprivation have an increased risk of accidents, making mistakes, and lower work performance.
The trouble is that this symptom is subtle to pick up at the start. Once you become more and more sleep deprived, you may notice a decreased reaction time when driving the car. Maybe you even witness yourself ‘dozing’ off behind the wheel while waiting for the green light.
This can become very dangerous, so try to avoid driving when you’ve had several long nights in a row. If you really need to be somewhere and can’t rely on family or friends, consider taking the bus or calling a taxi / Uber.
How many times did you say ‘yes, that’s me’? I really hope you weren’t able to tick all the boxes, although I must admit, I would have been able to if you gave me this list when I was sleep deprived.
You might be thinking now: ‘Great! I’m sleep deprived. Now how do I fix it?’. Since you’re a sleepy mum asking this question, the answer is pretty straightforward: Get your baby to sleep. Funny, right? Not really. And probably not the answer you were looking for either.
However, there are a few things you can do to help you cope better with sleep deprivation. And you can make sure to take care of yourself as well. After all, nobody can poor from an empty cup.
Is there a mum you’ve noticed that comes to visit when you’re feeling sleep deprived?
**This post was first published on Oct 9, 2018 – Updated on Feb 18, 2019**