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Babies and Sleep Deprivation

29 January, 2010

A lot has been written about babies, sleep and sleep deprivation. There are books and websites galore dedicated to getting your baby to sleep more. I’m not going to reiterate what has already been said a million times over. Instead, I’m going to add just a few little insights of my own.

Firstly, (and particularly in the case of chronic lack of sleep) pray before you go to sleep that no matter how many hours of sleep you do (or don’t) get, that it will be enough. Pray that the sleep you do get will leave your body rested and refreshed.

Secondly, get up at the same time every day. Yes, every day. Even when you don’t want to. Even when you’ve only had “x” number of hours of sleep. A predictable rising time will do wonders for your body. Sneak a little cat nap into the day later on if you need to.

Thirdly, at some point you will probably feel overwhelmed by all that you need to do that day. Stop looking at the mental list and getting frozen like a kangaroo in headlights. Focus on one room and work on it until it is clean. Don’t worry about anywhere else. Just work on the one room (despite being interrupted by nappy changes and feeding and meal preparation) until it is done. As you feel overwhelmed later in the day, come back to this room and let the sight of it refresh you.

Fourth, just keep going. Yes chronic sleep deprivation is torturous, but you don’t die from sleep deprivation. Keep plodding on and get the job done without whinging or complaining.

Alternatively, you might find it better if you allow yourself just five minutes to whinge. Call someone up, write a blog post, whinge on your facebook status, allow yourself just five minutes to have a pity party, and then move on.

Fifth, relax and lower your expectations for the day. Just focus on the task at hand and getting it done. Have a “pyjama day” where everyone (kids and adults, as long as they don’t need to leave the house) stays in their pyjamas. However, if you are the sort of person who struggles to get dressed before lunch time then a sleep deprived day is a day when you need to make extra effort to dress nicely. Don’t wear expensive clothes for formal occasions. Put on your favourite skirt and a pretty shirt. Do your hair nicely and put on a bit of make-up if that’s your style. If you think your kids are going to annoy you, make extra effort to dress them in clothes you like with cute hairstyles to match. You can’t help but smile at them when you see them.

Don’t just take it from me. Here’s what two other experienced mothers, Jess and a mum of 8 have to say.

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