Ah yes, we hear about this A LOT as parents, in fact it’s become acceptable to joke about it now! No-one wants to be that mum who turns around and says, actually I am NOT sleep deprived because I can’t cope without sleep, so I sleep trained my baby and now she sleeps like a dream!
The reason why we judge her so much is because knowing other people are dealing with sleepless nights normalises what we are experiencing and it’s comforting to know we are not alone. Unfortunately though, what is also does is keep us all stuck in that place because it becomes acceptable.
Why aren’t more women speaking up and saying I don’t want this, it’s making me feel like shit and actually its completely messing with my experience of motherhood.
FEAR – that’s why, fear of being different, fear of other mums judging us, fear of then having to actually make a change. Well I am here to tell you that if you’re sleep deprived you absolutely need to make a change because guess what, you’re ruining your life AND your health in the process.
DEFINITION OF SLEEP DEPRIVATION
You may well be reading this thinking that you’re just knackered like all parents and not sleep deprived! BUT the definition of sleep deprivation is less than 7 hours a night, so ask yourself how often are you consistently getting 7+ hours of sleep a night?
SLEEP DEPRIVATION AND HEALTH
Most people have heard that sleep deprivation is bad for you, but not many people choose to make a change until they’re struggling to function on a daily basis.
Why wait that long? All the time you wait for things to resolve your health is suffering.
Sleep deprivation is linked to poor mental health, you’re much more likely to suffer with postnatal depression. Which means you could be going to the doctors and getting medication for a condition which would actually improve significantly if you just got a good night’s sleep each night.
Of course I am not suggesting that you don’t seek medical help if you know you need too but I certainly feel depressed on even one night of broken sleep and so for me the solution is to ensure I get that consistent sleep.
Other associations with sleep deprivation include lower immune system which doubles your risk of cancer, long term insufficient lack of sleep is a key factor in determining if you will suffer from Alzheimer's disease, it disrupts blood sugar levels making you eat more which obviously leads to weight gain.
Not only that, did you know drowsy driving is just as dangerous as drunk driving causing hundreds of thousands of road traffic accidents and fatalities each year.
IT’S NOT JUST ABOUT BABIES SLEEP
So often we focus on our babies sleep, wanting them to be getting the sleep they need for their development and growth.
Whilst this is absolutely valid we also need to realise that in order to be the best parents we can be we also need to sleep.
Broken sleep is not restorative, there is a reason why we need to sleep a full 7 hours or more each night, it isn’t a choice it’s necessary to keep us healthy.
SLEEP IS BIOLOGICAL NOT A LUXURY
So often my clients feel guilty for reaching out and deciding enough is enough, they feel ashamed to admit they are no longer coping day to day and enjoying their child. Lack of sleep will cause you to eat more, exercise less and neglect your relationship.
It takes a lot to even be aware of the fact you’re exhausted and its impact on your life. But many people wait until they are at their wits end before they reach out for help.
Of course making decisions about how to get more sleep is harder when you’re so tired, you’re also less likely to be consistent and follow through on changes that you need to make.
WE ALL NEED HELP
We all need support from time to time, so often now mums are bearing the brunt of all the responsibilities in the home, with the kids and life in general. Becoming a new mum is challenging, you forget yourself and you neglect yourself.
Asking for help is not shameful, but that’s how we feel. We also feel alone a lot of the time, thinking we are the only ones feeling this lost, this down and beat ourselves up and say we should be grateful to have this child and enjoy being at home with them all day.
But the reality is far from this, when all you can think about is how tired you are everything else just feels so heavy. One night of sleep won’t help either, it needs to be a choice you make to consistently help you feel better.
I know sleep isn’t the only answer but I feel it’s step one in helping you to feel better overall. You will have energy again to get the things done that you want to get done.
You will feel more in control of your situation and make better decisions and choices as a result.
I guess what I am saying overall is being tired SUCKS, I don’t want women to keep suffering through it thinking it’s normal, thinking it’s their fault and this is just how it is.
Hearing advice from well meaning friends and family to just enjoy the cuddles is not helpful when you’ve held the baby all day and night and you just don’t want to do it anymore.
It’s okay to say enough is enough, it’s okay to admit you simply need to sleep and you’re struggling. There is no failure in doing that and there should be no glory in gloating about how tired you are either.
We need to make sleep a real thing for parents and not this allusive thing that is completely out of your reach.
My mission is to help more woman to stop accepting sleep deprivation as part of parenting. Sleep does matter and you should be making yourself a priority just as much as your child.
Don’t just survive, you can thrive and live your best life NOW.
Please share with another mama who needs to here this and if this resonated with you then it’s time to make a change. I offer free 15 mins clarity calls where we chat about how I can help you to achieve this thing we call sleep! Book one here.