How to deal when you’ve had no sleep

We have been through many of these phases before. Screams welcome us to a new dawn — or not even close to dawn yet — and we’re bleary-eyed, dragging our feet and flagging from the get go.

How on earth do we deal with these days where the amount of “sleep” you got the night before was laughable?

Stick to healthy habits today even though they may not be appealing

For the most part, these are all things we know we should be doing anyway. But actually doing these things will make a huge difference in how you feel today. You will feel more nourished and able to deal rather than reactionary from sugar and caffeine highs and lows.

  • Lots of protein for breakfast and throughout the day, especially for breakfast and lunch
  • Guzzle all the water. The oxygen in it is good and will flush out the nasty feelings.
  • B complex vitamins. Get methylated ones if you can because your body can use them better if you have an MTHFR mutation. They’re like coffee without the crash and plus, your body needs them anyway. Caffeine can stress your body so it’s not ideal to have it at this time.
  • Eat all the fruit and veg. Or heck, if you have a blender, make yourself an awesome veggie and fruit smoothie. That is if your kid doesn’t cry because they’re afraid of it. Yep, that’s us right now!
  • If you have freezer meals, USE THEM. This is a great time to pull those out so your exhausted brain doesn’t have to think of one more thing. It’s fatigued enough, don’t overload it with decision fatigue too.
  • Get gentle exercise early on, outdoors if possible. Ideally? 15-30 minutes of slow walking, ambling, meandering outside.

Dealing with the mental anguish of lost sleep

I found this really hard to deal with, especially in the first 6 months of being a parent. It’s really easy to say these recommendations, but much harder to put them into practice, not to mention actually making them a habit so they’re the norm rather than the exception. It’s not as sexy or Instagrammable as the food, drink and exercise recommendations, but your mindset just as important as the healthy habits I listed above, if not more important.

  • Don’t get angry as frustrating as it can be. It’s not your kid’s fault, and it’s guaranteed you did this to someone else at one point when you were little. My mantra when I’m exhausted (on repeat during the newborn/baby phase) was “someone did this for you” which totally puts things in perspective for me. Plus it shifts your potentially annoyed/frustrated mindset into one of gratitude which goes a long way to having a more positive outlook.
  • Acceptance. Last night or early this morning is what it is. Much as you’d love to, you can’t change it. It’s happened. The sleep was horrific or non-existent. Shit got real. You might even be crying from sleep deprivation with your child. Breathe in, breathe out, accept that this is where you are in this moment.
  • Give yourself grace. Don’t expect to work to any kind of ambitious to-do list and be wonder woman today. Let things slip and be gentle with yourself. This is a phase, and tomorrow or some time during the weekend and next week may be a better time to do that really ambitious thing (like the laundry or the dishes, am I right?).

It’s hard to change your habits, especially if they’re ingrained, but just think about how much better you’ll feel if you try to thrive with a positive mindset despite the circumstances rather than play the victim and get stuck in a negative mindset. You’ll show up a lot better as a mother for your kid(s) and will be a great role model for a growth mindset for your little (and not so little) ones. Everyone knows that we all have easy days and difficult days, but it’s your choices that dictate how your day plays out!

Treat yo’self… but not with sugar or caffeine

  • Uplifting scents. Wear your favorite perfume, diffuse sweet orange, grapefruit or lemon essential oil in a diffuser. Light your favorite scented candle. Smell can really change your mood!
  • Meet up with a friend, if you can. If not, try to Face time or WhatsApp a friend or family member.
  • Music! Is my favorite pick-me-up. Have a playlist with music that makes you feel good and dance your little heart out with your kiddo.
  • Make a nice cuppa something decaf. Buy some decaf tea or coffee, but get really nice stuff. Make it a ritual and a nice treat. I love peppermint or lemon balm after a crappy night’s sleep.

At the end of the day (and my goodness, it will feel long), you will feel so proud of yourself if you focus on one or two of the tips above. Even baby steps matter and will accumulate.

Anybody else have any other tips that they use to deal with the sleep deprivation?

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