While sleep deprivation is one thing that expecting mothers are emphatically warned about before their babies arrive, it is always a completely different and surreal experience once it actually happens. Suddenly it feels like the last decent sleep you got was months ago and it’s all you can do to stay awake during the day and not feel like you’re floating off to a world that’s a million miles away.
Over time, being deprived of sleep can lead to disastrous consequences not only for your physical body, but your emotional and mental health as well. Soon you won’t be able to think straight and your emotions will feel out of whack as well. Did you know that approximately 100,000 car crashes are attributed to a lack of sleep? Post partum depression has also been linked to sleep deprivation. But how can you care for your baby in the best way possible and deal with the situation at hand simultaneously? Is it even possible to do so?
In a nutshell, the answer is, and in this article, we tell you exactly how to go about it.
Figure out your sleep needs. Ideally, it’s best to do this even before the baby arrives. Work out a sleep schedule with your husband or with a nanny, if you have one. Find out how much sleep you need and once you’ve done that, stick to the arranged schedule so that you do not become sleep deprived. At this point, it’s best to away some money as well to help you hire a night nurse.
- Turn down additional responsibilities. If you have other children, it may be time for you and your husband to discuss how you will divide your responsibilities such as sports/game commitments, pick-up duties, grocery shopping, etc. If you feel that you need to make amends with your other children, set aside a few hours per weeks especially for them when time permits. The bottom line is to refuse additional responsibilities that aren’t pressing or urgent so that you can get some much needed shut-eye during your free time.
- Sleep when your baby sleeps. This is absolutely key to staying on top of your game and winning the sleep deprivation battle. It’s also something that smart moms learn early on. Once your baby lays down his head and goes off to la-la land, this serves as your go signal to do the same. While your initial instinct may be to tick things off of your to-do list and work on your chores instead, resist the urge to do so and go to sleep instead. These things can wait. Your health and well-being are the priority here.
- Take any help you can get. There’s no room for coyness or pride here. If somebody offers you assistance, whether it’s your neighbour, friend or a family member, say yes with gratitude. The only thing that you need to consider is whether they are trustworthy so you can relax knowing that your child is in safe hands. Remember: sleep is not a luxury that only the rich and famous are entitled to. It’s a medical prerequisite.
- Focus on the future. Remember: things won’t stay this way forever. The day is going to come when your baby is going to sleep through the night (probably at around eight months old, sooner for some). If your baby cries all night long, it may be worth paying your paediatrician a visit as the cause may be some other medical reason.
- Rule out sleep disorders. If a short nap doesn’t seem to make a difference in your stamina or energy level, visit a professional as there may be an underlying sleep disorder that could be the culprit of your sleep deprivation.
Follow these tips and you should be able to cope with the effects of sleep deprivation safely and effectively.
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