Thursday, September 21, 2023
The Parents' Voice

The importance of sleep

We’ve all read the wonderful stories about how special it is to have those moments alone with your baby when everyone else in the house is sleeping. I have to admit those moments are precious and I did enjoy them, but sometimes they leave you feeling less than energetic the next day.
When I would nurse my third baby in the wee hours of the night, I would repeat this mantra, “these days are passing by so quickly, I am going to relax and enjoy them.” I knew that soon he would be big like his sisters and all those cuddles and snuggles would be a little less forthcoming so I tried to enjoy every moment. The only snag was that the next day when I was awake with all three kids and trying desperately to play with them and be a present mom, I’d sometimes be just too tired to function.
Until you face no sleep, you really don’t know what it feels like, there’s nothing else like it. Your brain often really does work in slow motion and accomplishing anything short of necessity becomes impossible. Here are some of the ideas I’ve read about and/or have tried in the past to try and survive through the haze.

  1. Get outside. Make time to get everyone bundled up (even in the winter) and get some fresh air. It’s amazing how even just 15 minutes of outdoor time will clear your headache away and give you a different perspective on your day. Try to go for a walk or just sit outside with the kids and breathe in the air.
  2. Make time for some physical activity. This one is tricky but oh so important. I’ve noticed that days when I do get some activity in I sleep much better and my body genuinely feels better. There are options for getting some physical activity into your already jam packed schedule. Try an exercise video — your children can be around you the whole time. Hey you can even use them as a weight, or a walk (even with the stroller) a weekly/biweekly class, a run, yoga, gym time, whatever you enjoy doing.
  3. Eat healthy foods and drink lots of water. I don’t know about you but when I’m tired I crave carbs. If you need carbs try to stick to whole wheat and lots of veggies and fruit, nuts, granola bars, foods that give you energy. Naturally, I enjoy coffee. I have read that too much caffeine will leave you feeling more tired in the end but hey, you have to do what you have to do to get through the day. Make sure to get some water into you too though.
  4. When you really need a pj day, have a pj day. Keep the kids in their jammies, watch movies, play games, read stories and snuggle. Sleep when they do.
  5. When help is offered, take it. Grandma wants a visit with the kids or a friend dropped off supper — rejoice.
  6. If you’re a mom to one, sleep when the baby sleeps. I know everyone says this and I know when that little itty bitty creature sleeps you can think of a million and one things that need doing but instead, sleep. Those things that need doing will get done when you have more energy.
  7. Talk about it. Talk to other mom friends or meet new mom friends at playgroups or other children’s activities/events.
  8. Share sleep in time. Make sure you get some sleep in time on weekends or other days of the week that your spouse is home, or grab a nap midday when your significant other takes the kids outside. Whatever the case, factor in some sleep time for you to try and catch up on those zzzz’s.
  9. Remember that they will eventually sleep. This period of time in their lives, and yours, will end and chances are, you’ll miss these moments.

We all wish there were more hours in the day, there always seems to be so much to do and so little time. When you get overwhelmed with what needs to be done, make a list and review it. I’m sure some of those things can wait until a later date, if so, cross them off. Sometimes seeing what really needs doing on paper might make you feel a little bit better, maybe it’s not as much as you thought.In the end, only essential things need doing, especially when you’re sleep deprived. Put some things on the back burner and just do what’s absolutely necessary for now. Until next week, take care of yourself.


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