Sometimes, it seems that there is nothing worse than sleep deprivation.
I am sure if you are a new parent reading this, your eyes are heavy and you can’t stop yawning. But wait, there are dishes in the sink, clothes to be washed and you haven’t taken a shower in days but you’re so tired.
And sleep deprivation can be just as bad if your children are grown. We live in such a fast-paced world that most of us never take time for ourselves and are busy from sun up till sundown. It’s’ no wonder our minds go round and round when our heads hit the pillow. And how many times have you fallen into a nice, relaxing sleep only to wake up a few hours later with your to-do list dancing in your head or it’s time to feed your baby again. I can’t think of anything more frustrating.
Here are a few things I do to get a good night’s sleep:
- I make sure I’m not hungry before bed. I know many experts tell us not to eat four hours before bedtime, but a growling stomach is not a good recipe for me to sleep. A small bowl of cereal, a piece of toast or a banana are a few bedtime snacks that work for me.
- But I found if I ate dinner later than 7:00 and had a glass of wine, I fell asleep but didn’t stay asleep and had a very restless night.
- I make sure my room is nice and cold. And then I wrap myself up in a really soft blanket under the sheets. Who says swaddling is just for babies!
- I make sure my room is dark. No blinking computer or smart phone lights. And I turn the ringer off on my smart phone.
- Sometimes I put on my headphones and listen to soft music on my Ipod, but cover it up so I don’t see the light.
- And when my children were babies, my husband and I would take turns with night feedings. Whosever night it was had the baby monitor on their side. And yes, it took all my willpower not to ask him how much she ate.
- I also did my best to nap when my babies napped or at least lay down on the couch and shut my eyes. It was not a time to do chores. And that wasn’t easy.
- When I did go back to work full-time, I made sure to try and take a short walk during my lunch hour…good for stress and can help with a good night’s sleep.
As Debbie Gaby, owner of Sleep America says,
“Sleep deprivation is like a credit card. You keep charging and charging but at some point have to pay for it! Our bodies need sleep to function and at some point sleep deprivation will take its toll. I like to visualize a flickering flame of a candle slowly going out…works better than counting sheep!
My Best Parenting Advice: I’m Not Grumpy, I’m Just Tired by Blythe Lipman