I read somewhere on a women’s magazine that for every child that grows up to 18 years old, the parents would have lost 5 years worth of sleep. I have 4 kids so, mathematicians out there, please help to figure out how many years worth of sleep I would have lost just by having them.
10 years ago, with the birth of my first baby, my relationship with a good night’s sleep has been elusive. I now have what the experts would call long term sleep deprivation or that I have a sleep debt. I do better some days with less sleep but others badly.
How do I then deal with this ongoing issue (at least until my youngest is 4 and fully toilet trained)?
- Sleep Early
This is a tough one for me as I have so much to do that I cannot sleep early. I am also a night owl so I get all kinds of ideas and things to do at night, mostly before bedtime! Nevertheless, I try my best and when I manage this one, it helps me recover some of my sleep debt.
- Stimulants (legal ones, of course)
Of course, what is a sleep deprived mum going to function on without stimulants aka coffee? I only have 1 a day and almost always the first drink of the day. On days that I bravely go without, by lunchtime, I would have develop a massive headache. For a period of time, I tried to wean myself off and was quite successful. I guess that is another post for another day. I am back on it again, as I found it easier than fighting the urge. Will power is something you don’t have a lot in supply when you are sleep deprived.
I recently also found that high protein breakfast with a dose of 500mg worth of Vitamin C would also help with my energy levels. These would include eggs, ham and soya bean based drinks or food. A couple of eggs on wholemeal toasts and a cup of coffee would take me all the way until lunchtime. Tuna fish sandwiches are great too. If you want to boost any sandwich with extra protein, a slice of cheese is a great addition. I also try to avoid too much carbohydrates and make sure I drink lots of water.
- My iPod Touch
To help me focus on work in the office, this gadget (which was a gift from Dear Husband) is vital in providing background music and also pump up my blood and energy levels. As I work in an open office (yes, we can hear all the conference calls and conversations with spouses or kids), it shuts off the unnecessary distractions, which a tired body can easily succumb to.
This is 5th on my list for a reason. This is not something I would reach for intuitively to help cope with my sleep debt. However, when I do get time to go for a run or walk, this brings my energy levels up just after 20 minutes. If I am able to continue this for a week, I actually get quite good results.
Now if only I can find those sneakers…