If there is one thing that is testing my mission to find calm and harmony at the moment, it’s lack of sleep. I am rubbish without a good night’s sleep. So having spent the last few weeks with one or both of my children waking up every night, I am a proper grump today! While my children and husband find it really easy to get back to sleep again, I spend the rest of the night tossing and turning and listening to the harmony of snores that fills the house.
I was well-prepared for the sleepless nights during the baby stage but I had assumed that sleep deprivation would be a thing of the past now that my children are older. Surely by ages 4 and 6, my children would be happily sleeping through the night? To be fair, most of the time they do, but we certainly have had a few episodes over the years of one or both of our children waking at night. Whether it’s the warmer weather, my daughter dreaming of her dog turning into a biscuit (this was her reason for waking last night) or my son’s fear of the monsters in his room, my children just aren’t sleeping well at the moment.
Apart from zapping my energy and feeling exhausted, lack of sleep makes even the most simple tasks more challenging. I’m sure it took me twice as long to make breakfast this morning as I struggled to coordinate the task of pouring cereal into a bowl. Even my morning shower takes more mental preparation than normal when I’m struggling with lack of sleep.
Thankfully, periods of sleep deprivation do tend to pass and I’m hoping this phase of interrupted sleep will end soon too. But in the meantime, I’ve had to remind myself how I have dealt with this in the past. These are my top 10 tips for surviving sleep deprivation:
- Get up and face the day – I always feel more groggy for staying in bed, even if I have only had four hours sleep. I try to get up, dressed and get on with my day rather than lounging in bed or on the sofa. Not always an easy task!
- Eat healthily – When I’m tired, my sweet tooth really comes out to haunt me. I know from experience though that eating lots of sugary food just makes me feel sluggish and is counter-productive to my already diminished energy levels.
- Get some fresh air – Getting outside is great for increasing my energy levels. A quick walk around the block helps to make me feel refreshed, even if just for a while.
- Exercise – It can be hard to motivate myself to do a workout or go for a run when I’m tired, but I know that I’ll feel better after some exercise. I try to drag myself off the sofa no matter how exhausted I am.
- Prioritise – Whether it’s housework or my to-do list for work, there are some days that I know I just need to focus on the things I really need to get done that day and pick up my other tasks another day.
- Keep busy – If I’m tired, I really need to find motivation to keep busy, but lounging around thinking about how tired I am just makes me feel even more tired! If I’m busy, I can focus on what I’m doing rather than on how little sleep I’ve had.
- Take the easy option at times – Sometimes I just need to do whatever gets me through the day. That might mean taking the children to softplay so I can drink tea while they play rather than feeling I have to entertain them all day or putting a film on so that we can all enjoy a quiet hour or so.
- Enjoy some time to yourself – Quite often just having some ‘me time’ is enough to recharge my energy levels. A peaceful bath, watching my favourite film (Bridget Jones’s Diary in case you wondered) or just having time out to read a book all helps in dealing with my grumpiness when I’m tired.
- Drink water – As much as I feel the need for caffeine when I’ve not had much sleep, I try to drink lots of water to restore my energy levels. It really does help!
- Be kind on yourself – Being tired is no fun, particularly if your sleep has been disrupted for a while. I sometimes feel guilty for not being the fun, energetic mum but sometimes I just have to accept that I am shattered and it’s (hopefully!) a temporary thing.
Our routine is a little more relaxed now the school holidays are here so we can take things a bit easier. In the meantime, I just have to keep reminding myself that this is just a phase and one that will pass (soon please!).
Are you currently suffering from lack of sleep? Do you have any tips for dealing with tiredness?