5 Ways to Survive Sleep Deprivation

Before I had a baby, I had absolutely no idea. One of the girls from our NCT group had her little boy almost exactly before Emma was due and she text me in those early weeks saying “I know it’s cliche, but just sleep as much as you can now”. I read it and thought, “how bad can it be?”. The struggle of getting on with your day when you’ve been woken up to 7 times in the night is very real. It makes you feel like you are climbing Everest with a boulder pulling you down as you try to take a step forward. It’s now that I truly understand why sleep deprivation is a form of torture.

Image of person asleep on bed, exhausted

After 16 months, things are easier in some ways. Emma is more mobile and while that presents it’s own challenges, she is happier within herself. But sleep is something we are constantly battling with. After over a year, you’d think my body would have got used to it, but actually it’s the cumulative tiredness of battling through every night that makes it a bit tricky. So in the absence of things getting better, I like to adopt the following things to help with the morning after…

Get to bed early

I found this one hard, because basically I’m a stubborn mule. In some ways, I think it may have been the only thing from pre-baby me that I was clinging onto and refusing to change. But eventually I got the memo – try to plan your evening 3 hours earlier than you normally would and go to sleep at 10pm (or earlier if you need to). You’ll thank yourself for getting some shut eye before the dream feed.

Fresh air 

In those early months, I was really good at this because as Emma was screaming in the pram, a walk round the park was the answer to everything. But as she got older, we got in a routine of staying in til late morning, by which point we’d both have cabin fever! Forcing ourselves to have an early-ish walk or trip to the park makes the world of difference and really revives my energy.

Coffee is your friend

I’m not going to lie, fresh air alone is not going to work. Coffee is the only way and we’ve now built up to the maximum strength #5! Amazingly I don’t think I drank that much coffee before I had Emma but now I wouldn’t get through the day without at least one cup.

Surrender that you can’t do it all

A real turning point for me was when I started being totally upfront with my family about how I feel. It was great because as soon as I said it, the boys realised that I needed a bit more support on those days and tried to give me a few breaks over the weekend. Sometimes as Mums, we’re trying so hard to be everything to everyone in the family and a bit of extra communication goes a long way.

Accept that it will change….one day

And it will. I’ve accepted that it is this way until it’s not anymore. So for the moment, let’s just keep on trucking til that day arrives!

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  1. August 29, 2016 / 1:45 pm

    These are great tips Bridie – I think I need to succumb to the earlier bedtime now. TM has never slept all through the night but he used to do a long stretch between 12 and 8 ish which was perfect for us sleeping. Unfortunately the last few months he seems to wake at around 2 and 5am so I rarely get more than 3 hours. If I went to bed at 9 or 10 I would get a good 4 or 5 hours. But it’s very difficult to do as I used to work evenings – and B still does – so naturally I don’t want to go to bed until at least 12. #bigpinklink
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  2. August 29, 2016 / 7:32 pm

    It sure just chance and take one day at a time was my motto X #bigpinklink

  3. August 29, 2016 / 7:55 pm

    Oh how depleted my sleep bank account is — remarkably similar to our regular bank account. Hmmm. Maybe I am a sucky accountant? Oy, I’m exhausted and it’s been over 8 years.

  4. August 29, 2016 / 8:09 pm

    I used to fight going to bed early, but now come 9pm there is nothing I want to do more! Great post! #bigpinklink
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  5. August 29, 2016 / 8:37 pm

    Those sleep-deprived days were horrendous and they went on for A FULL YEAR for us. Thankfully, the Popple is a much better sleeper now and will usually sleep through the night unless she’s sick. I have no idea how I survived that first year, other than going to bed really early and taking LOTS of walks for exercise. I’m still ready to hit the sack by 10pm now, since I know the Popple never sleeps past 7am. #bigpinklink
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  6. August 30, 2016 / 12:36 pm

    Great tips! I know what you mean about the cabin fever, it is so important to force ourselves out, even if we don’t feel like it! Fresh air really does make all the difference. 🙂
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  7. August 30, 2016 / 7:27 pm

    Sleep deprivation is horrible! I am not looking forward to going through it all again in a couple of months. These are some great tips, coffee definitely is a saviour in those early days and getting to bed early..I used to go to bed at about 8 every night when Leo was small. He sleeps fine now so some nights I’m up until 11!xx #anythinggoes
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  8. August 30, 2016 / 9:16 pm

    It was such a shock realising how terrible the sleep deprivation really was. I survived on much coffee and far too much cake. It was infinitely harder when my second arrived because it felt like I’d just shut my eyes and then she was awake needing full attention while he slept peacefully ready to need me all night when she slept. It’s better now! Thanks for linking with us. #bigpinklink

  9. August 31, 2016 / 11:06 am

    Oh the early bed thing used to annoy me. I liked to have a few hours in the evening to myself and not spend it asleep. But I caved. Those extra hours really were better spent sleeping. Fortunately we have managed to get bed time sort d for 7 and we all get something that resembles a nights sleep – so there is hope. That being said, coffee is still a very dear friend of mine #bigpinklink

  10. August 31, 2016 / 2:59 pm

    Sleep deprivation turned me into a different person, a but like when I’m hungry! I look back now and wonder how I did it – and now I’m about to do it all over again!! #bigpinklink
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  11. September 2, 2016 / 3:32 pm

    Great tips! I particularly liked the one about communicating – there are so many people who would be willing to help, but until you tell them, they may not know you want help.
    Thanks for linking up to #AnythingGoes 🙂
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  12. September 2, 2016 / 3:53 pm

    The going to bed early part is such a struggle – do I go to sleep or use the evening to do ‘me’ stuff?!

  13. September 5, 2016 / 10:53 am

    Early bedtime is a life saver, it really has saved my sanity especially when my son is sick and more wakeful than usual! #marvmondays

  14. September 5, 2016 / 10:58 am

    Just popping back again! I love these tips. I had no sleep last night because I was so worried about today and little ones going to nursery and school. Eeeks. I need to take your tip of fresh air! #MarvMondays
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  15. September 5, 2016 / 9:32 pm

    People said to me sleep before he was born and I thought it was silly, it’s not like you have a sleep bank?! But I wish I had, just for the memories 🙂 I definitely pull in the support. In fact just this weekend I took roscoe to my mums and then kipped on the sofa #MarvMondays

  16. September 6, 2016 / 9:57 am

    I am reading this after an awful night with my 1 year who woke up at 10pm just as I was going to bed and screamed until 1am!! These are great tips, I especially agree that fresh air really helps to wake you up. I hardly ever felt sleep deprived with a newborn as I went for so many walks but unfortunately now I’m back at work, fresh air and a brisk walk are a distant dream….I wish I drank coffee, but I give in to lots of tea and chocolate as a back up! #marvmondays
    Something About Baby recently posted…Times to Treasure – Week 3My Profile

  17. September 6, 2016 / 9:45 pm

    It’s the one thing I say to anyone I know who is pregnant. Seriously sleep now, they always look at me slightly confused but I hope they do it. I know all too well how bad it can get. Clem was (and still is!) a terrible sleeper. It’s getting better but I’m still up 3-4 times a night with her. These are all great tips. Like you, I find if we get up and out early then it helps. x #MarvMondays
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  18. September 11, 2016 / 12:55 am

    Great tips! I learnt pretty quickly with my first that I just couldnt do it all anymore and needed to learn to ask for help when I needed it. I still need to learn to get better at going to bed earlier though, I could really do with getting some extra sleep with baby number two here now! Thanks for sharing this on #MarvMondays. Emily

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