So the research says you need 8 hours of sleep a night and maybe you didn’t even quite make it to 8 hours when you didn’t have kids. Having a baby for me, was a very rude awakening to my lifestyle and ‘having my cake and eating it’ attitude. After I had my first baby I was super mum. I was awake all day smashing out the washing, cleaning, dinner, basically being a super wifey. It all came crashing down about 6 weeks after I had my son. I’d had some complications and had shortness of breath and they thought it might be a clot. Luckily it was just a nasty infection. Lying in the hospital bed cuddling my baby in emergency I realised I had been a little bit silly. I was tired, actually I was exhausted and whilst my brain was pushing on my body was doing all the talking. Everyone talks about sleep deprivation so I was as prepared as much as you could be for someone who have never experienced it. The two biggest shocks as a mum were:
1. I will no longer sleep in a block of sleep over 5 hours, even if the kids sleep through, I’ll wake up like there is something wrong.
2. Babies, grow into toddlers, who grow into kids who don’t always sleep though. I’ve heard of kids that do, but none of my friends have them!
So the shock when you go back to work is that the whole sleep thing might not be bedded down by the time your are back into it, pardon the pun. So it’s not about how you can help them sleep better, cause things like teething, sickness and bad dreams can’t be helped but it’s how can you survive getting back to work and try to function as a professional.
Here are my tips for surviving a sleep-deprivation without training in an SAS bootcamp:
1. Minimise your commitments
Prioritise sleep. Get organised for bed and set some goals about bedtime being at……
2. Watch your caffeine intake
I loved getting back into my coffee routine at work but I did get a bit carried away when I first went back. Having not had it for a while I had a few occasions of a fluttering heart that was enough to tell me to back off. Not only had my sleep habits changed but so did my budget so I was able to curb my habit not just for my health but also to break even with the cost of childcare and coffee. surely this stuff should be salary packaged.
3. Are you hungry or are you tired?
I don’t know about you, but if I’m tired I crave carbs and sugar. None of them add anything to get me through the day apart from a short term high and some big lows. I try to have porridge in the mornings as it fills me up. It all goes down hill after that. Water helps! I’m not about to give nutrition advice but I’ve recognised I overeat when I’m tired.
4. Embrace the power nap
I’ve never been a power napper but have learnt to put my head down when it gets a bit much. To be honest, I am a much nicer person and a much better mum after more sleep. Wish I would do it more! I’d be amazing
6. Get picky
Decide what’s essential and what you can let go of. Kind of ironic I am sitting her are 10:0pm writing this. I really need to go to bed. Luckily I am prioritising a short blog post so I can hit the sack.
How do you handle sleep deprivation and work?