Sleep deprivation is the condition of not having enough sleep. I know as mom’s we just assume this as part of the package, children = lack of sleep. Realistically it is – whether it be babies, teething toddlers, or just sleepless nights worrying if you have in fact made the right decisions for your child/children. Sleepless nights become a way of life. Something you just adjust to. Do you know though how badly this affects your body? More importantly how are you supposed to function when you are sleep deprived? I’ve done some digging for all of us!
Last week Daniel was diagnosed with croup, he’s also teething those really nasty bottom molars, and all together it meant very little sleep for mom. It went on for about 4 nights before my body began to really react. It was crazy actually, I kept wondering if perhaps my menstrual cycle was messed up. I’m one of those blame-PMS-for-everything people. I was irritable, emotional, struggling to focus and of course really tired.
Sleep deprivation affects your moods, it can make you quick tempered and anxious and sometimes even lead to depression. It affects your long term and short term memory because when we sleep our brain uses this time to form connections that help you process and remember new information. Your concentration, creativity and problem solving skills are all compromised when you aren’t getting enough rest too. Little rest causes your immune system to be compromised, this means that you are more likely to pick up the common cold or flu. Sleep deprivation also causes loss of balance and coordination, low sex drive and increased risk of high blood pressure.
Crazy? Scary? I definitely think so! Especially when as moms, we so dearly would like to sleep. So what are we to do? Obviously sleeping is the answer to sleep deprivation, but when you can’t there are a few things that can help!
- Grab your cuppa – yep, I gave you permission to get your happy with some coffee. You may need more than one cup to keep you going throughout the day. Try to avoid energy drinks, the high from them is not worth the come down (especially when you are already short on sleep).
- Get some sunshine – You probably don’t really want to go out in the sun for fear that it may burn you after letting your body think it has vampire tendencies at night. It is actually really good for sleepy people, the sunshine helps to reset your biological clock. Your body will stop producing melatonin when exposed to sunlight which is the hormone which makes you sleepy.
- Exercise – I read this one and kind of just moved over it, because exercise is not my friend. I do know though that after you exercise it definitely gives you a boost. Finding the boost to exercise though I’m not sure. If that’s your thing though – whoop whoop!
- Look better than you feel – ever heard of the saying “looking good contributes to feeling good?” well it’s true. Looking like you haven’t slept in days is bound to make you feel worse!
- Catch a nap – really though, this sounds so futile but even 15-20 minutes help. I have done this at work in a lounge chair at lunch time (especially when I was pregnant) obviously out of sight. Anything longer than 30 minutes can make it hard to wake up but a little extra sleep can go a long way.