8 Tricks to Survive Sleep Deprivation
Are you trying hard to survive sleep deprivation now that you’re a new mum? I’m sure you are!
Sleep deprivation is one of those things that sneaks up on you. You don’t realise it’s there until you’re already way over your head involved with Mrs Sleep Deprivation.
At the start, it’s easier to stay optimistic, to tell yourself it will change soon, to realise that newborn babies feed a lot and therefore wake a lot at night.
But then you hit a point where it just doesn’t seem to end at all. The newborn stage has passed and you are still not sleeping enough through the night. Maybe at this time, you’ve discovered that your little one cannot self-sooth and constantly needs you to help him.
The long nights are getting heavier and harder to take. The days take long and it seems like you’re unable to do anything else, but take care of your baby.
We all know that one day this will end. We all know it. But knowing it doesn’t always help, or make it any easier.
Unfortunately, it’s something most mums will go through and unless things change (that is, unless your baby starts sleeping through the night), Mrs Sleep Deprivation will probably stay a bit longer.
So, how do you survive sleep deprivation in the meantime?
1. Take a Few Deep Breaths When You Feel Overwhelmed
Many new mums find it overwhelming to take care of a baby while being a wife, and keeping up with the increasing list of household tasks.
Before you let this feeling take over completely, take a few deep breaths. I know it sounds too good to be true, but I have found it quite helpful at times.
Especially when your baby doesn’t feel the need to do you a favour and finally go to sleep. You’ll find it will make you calmer and therefore you will be able to think a little clearer.
Then you can go to the next tip.
2. Make a List of Things to Do and Prioritise
When you write all your tasks down and make a list of what’s important and what not really, you may find that the list is actually shorter than anticipated.
Often, our mind loves to makes things worse than they are which gives us even more anxiety and worries. Making a list, gives your tasks ‘a face’.
Maybe you can split that list up again into a ‘what task can I give away’ list. For example, if your list has vacuuming and mopping the floor, you can ask your husband to help a hand. Or maybe your mum, sibling, or friend.
If you don’t have many people you can rely on, try looking for a cleaner who can come once in awhile.
Want to cook healthy meals, but just don’t have the energy? Again, ask someone for help or arrange with your partner that you can spend some time on the weekend cooking. Freeze all the meals, so that you have healthy lunches and dinners during the week.
3. Be Kind to Yourself
Oh, this is a tough one, isn’t it? How easy is it to beat yourself up over little things! ‘I wish I had this…’, ‘If I had known, I would have….’, ‘My baby keeps crying, I must be a terrible mum’, ‘My house is a pigsty, what kind of mum and wife does that?’ and so on and so on.
Please, don’t do this to yourself. Being a mum is a hard job. I believe it’s the most challenging, yet rewarding job anyone can have in their lifetime. Be kind!
Being a mum is a learning process, a never-ending journey. Every day you will learn new things. It never stops. It’s pretty exciting, really! So don’t give up. If one thing didn’t work out, try something else next time.
You will make this work!
4. Try to Have Some Me-Time
Whenever you have the possibility to have some alone time, grab it with both hands!
Whether it’s just a few minutes to sit outside and enjoy some rays, soaking in a warm bath, reading a book, or listening to some music – it will give you some time to step away from mum duties and recharge your batteries that little bit more.
Take care of your self too! After all, it’s not possible to pour from an empty cup.
5. Eat Healthy
We all know it’s better to eat healthy rather than indulging in sweet snacks and junk food, but it takes a bit more of your effort.
Cooking and cutting up veggies is probably the last thing you’d want to add to your list. However, healthy food will feed your low energy levels.
Eating lots of junk, will make you feel even more tired than you already do. Healthy foods will give your body the extra boost to help survive sleep deprivation.
6. Step Outside and Catch Some Rays
Going for walks, or just spending some time outside in the sun, will help your body deal with sleep deprivation.
The morning sun is ideal as it’s not too hot then and the risk of sunburn is lower than too. When my daughter was a baby, I’d put her in the pram and take her for walks at least once a day. I’d try to make it two walks, one in the morning and one in the late afternoon.
Now that she’s a toddler, I take her to the park during the mornings and she loves it!
If you feel too tired to go for walks, just take a chair and sit outside in the garden. This will do the trick as well.
7. Nap When Baby Sleeps
I know. I know. It’s the most common advice: ‘Just nap when baby sleeps’, when all you want to do is catch up on your increasingly long to-do-list.
However, when you’re sleep deprived, you become less focused and chances are that any task ends up going really slow or not at all. You’re better off to have a little cat nap.
Twenty minutes is often all it takes for your body and brain to function on a higher level than before the nap.
If your baby is then still sleeping, start folding the laundry or cutting some veggies and fruit. Taking care of a baby also means taking care of yourself.
Of course, if this is not your first baby, it may not be possible to nap at the same time. Maybe see if you can have a family member or friend take care of your older child(ren), or hire a nanny you trust.
8. Spend Time Praying
And last, but definitely not least: talk to Jesus! Ask Him to give you strength to get through this challenging season. For on our moments of weakness, His strength is made perfect.
Better even, don’t start your day without praising Him and giving Him thanks. Then ask for support and physical energy, for patience and calmness. Ask, believe, and you shall receive.
‘My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness’.2 Corinthians 12:9
I truly hope you may find one or more of these tips helpful.
Is there any other tricks you use to help you survive sleep deprivation? I would love to hear all about it.
**This post was first published October, 2018 – Updated on May 2, 2019**