Sleep Deprivation

November 6, 2009 by Rieshy
I lay in bed this morning from about 2:00 A.M. to 5:00 A.M. listening to the sounds of my three youngest children coughing.  One goopy cougher was in bed with my husband and me.  He managed to roll just in time to cough full in my face at least once every five minutes.  Lovely.  It made me reflect on sleep and lack thereof.  
Sleep deprivation, in fits and bursts, is part and parcel of normal motherhood but is especially part of mothering chronically ill children.  Last year we had an extra long stretch where I was unable to get more that 2 or 3 hours together of  sleep for months.  It was ugly, but over time I learned some ways to cope a tad more gracefully with lack of proper sleep.  I've been giving myself  a pep talk of the things I need to do- since one thing I'm not doing this week is sleeping.

Some of the things that helped me might help a fellow "sufferer".  The great thing is that they are all free and relatively painless:
  1. Go walking each day if at all possible.  It won't make you less tired but it will refresh you, and remind you that the world is a big place.  Breath deep and smile.
  2. Drink extra water, especially if coffee has become your new best friend.
  3. Be kind to yourself.  You are not lazy, ungrateful, unmotivated, undisciplined or depressed. You are exhausted, there is a difference.  However you will become depressed if you have unrealistic expectations and call yourself names for failing to meet those expectations.
  4. Be five times sweeter to your husband than you normally are.  Even if he's not the one getting up he's probably exhausted too.  Sweetness has a way of increasing ten-fold and circling back.
  5. Avoid energizing yourself with sweets and desserts. It doesn't work long term- you'll end up just as tired, with extra padding in places you probably don't want it.
If you are staring at this bleary eyed, feeling slightly woozy from lack of sleep and worry, don't forget that God is very real.  He can provide you with what you need.  Talk to Him.
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flavoredmom said...

Oh, I feel your pain. It takes a parent to understand why you actually want to keep the offensive little germ bubble in bed with you. Happy VGNO.

Richele McFarlin said...

Do parents ever really sleep? I mean I've been a parent for 11 years...I don't think I've slept since! LOL

Heather Masson said...

Being good to yourself is so important. Caregiver burnout is a very real thing, and how can we help our children if we are running on empty.

As moms we always come last, but taking even a few minutes each day (like going for a walk) will help us maintain a focus, and do what needs to be done.

Marcia (123 blog) said...

Love number 3 and that's the one I have the biggest problem with - thinking I'm superwoman and that everything still needs to get done as it did pre-preg. My twin pregnancy was great but I was exhausted literally the entire 1st and 3rd trimesters, and the 2nd went by so quickly because by week 23 I was exhausted again :)

Unknown said...

Thanks for the list & the reminder to be gentler on myself, that said bub is asleep it's 1am, I'd better stop reading & do the same! ( or I WILL be the cranky, tearful, irrational mummy tomorrow!!)
Your posts have really given me a lift tonight Susan thank u so much.

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