Survival tips: Sleep deprivation

Morning

When you wake up after a L O N G night. And your eyes feel drier than the Sahara Desert. It stings to open them and your body feels weak and heavy. Last nights make-up is gluing your eyes together and you’re wondering how the hell you can do this. Here are my tips for when you first wake-up (anything before 6/7am is still considered night time, keep lights off, soft/quiet voices or even don’t speak at all, no eye contact - baby needs to be reminded this is time to sleep not play).

Mint body wash - Take a shower first thing, it will make you feel so much more awake. Sometimes this is easier said than done so I would suggest giving your baby a big feed and putting her in a chair in the bathroom that plays music or vibrates (battery operated of course) and talking to her the entire time, singing songs, making eye contact. Once in the shower, this body wash will make you feel A L I V E. Definitely get a body puff to really lather the product up and ensure you get a good wash.

Brushing your teeth - I do this in the shower. A) to save time and B) because for some reason a minty fresh mouth makes me feel so much more alert and ready for the day than a warm, morning breath mouth (gross ha). I would get a toothpaste that is so minty it takes your breath away and then brush brush brush.

Make-up wipes for eyes - I keep make-up wipes on my bedside table. I find that wiping my eyes in the morning just freshens them up. It stops them from being sleepy and wanting to close again by waking you up. It gets all the left over make-up off and leaves you feeling cleansed. They’re quick and easy and something you can do while feeding the baby/the baby sleeps without having to get out of bed (just yet)

Get jobs done in the morning - no guilty naps - For the first few weeks you will feel like, and people will tell you, not to do the jobs around the house and to soak up your baby and enjoy these days. But lets be honest sooner or later you need to get off your ass and do the dishes. If it’s your first baby you’ll have a lot of time on your hands, especially if you can’t drive for 6 weeks if you’ve had a c section. If you have a reasonably content baby you can definitely find time to do housework and take care of yourself.

I can definitely recommend, after a morning routine to get you out of your sleepy state and feeling fresh and awake - to get your jobs for the day done first thing. This leaves for a guilt free day. If I have to do dishes or laundry, or normally both, but I fall asleep with the baby at 1pm, and 3pm- you can guarantee they would’ve been guilty naps. Naps where I don’t deserve them and still have the thought of all my jobs on my mind on top of looking after a baby. Although its a huge struggle to get them done sometimes, if you aim to have them done before midday, it leaves for a whole afternoon of being a lazy slob/cuddling the baby/sleeping when the baby sleeps. If you have a busy morning it will also make it easier to have an afternoon nap as you’ll be so zonked you will just sink into that mattress.

Easy on the coffees - Although you may think a coffee is the first thing you want to dive in head first to in the morning, it can be counter productive. I would definitely recommend Arbonne Fizz Sticks instead of reaching for the Caffeine or a Red Bull. Arbonne Fizz Sticks are sachets of powder that you mix with water to create an energy drink thats good for you! You can have two a day, unless you’re breastfeeding, then you can have one a day. They are delicious, make you feel so much more alert, wont stain your teeth or give you the shits. You can buy them here in Citrus or Pomegranate flavour: http://www.arbonne.com/PWS/OliviaAmes/store/AMUK/product/Energy-Fizz-Sticks-Pomegranate-UK-2079,6479,486.aspx

Quick wash - Tits, pits and bits - If you don’t have time for a shower, definitely just have a quick wash over the sink. It’ll take seconds but make the world of difference and also stops you from stinking.

During Nightfeeds

Repetitive film, no bright lights - During night feeds I would use the TV as a light. It was far enough away that it wasn’t in the baby’s face and would light the room ever so slightly - enough for me to wake up but not so bright that the baby wakes up. I feel like had I put a big light on it would’ve fully woken up the baby and risked disturbing that sleepy state which enables him to (hopefully) fall back straight asleep after a feed. If I used a really subtle light it wouldn’t be bright enough to keep me awake. If you have a hallway or an en suite, keeping a light on in there and cracking the door is also a great idea.

Instead of watching TV or a series, or anything new - I would watch a film that I had seen a few times, and simply replay it over and over every time I woke up. I found that if it was something I’d seen a million times, it didn’t keep me awake enough because I knew exactly what was going to happen/all the words. If it was something I hadn’t seen before, it was too much to concentrate on at 3am when you’re too tired for words. So a film I had seen a few times was the perfect amount.

Don’t get too cosy/warm - if it’s winter, sometimes the heat of your bed is something you never want to escape. We all know the feeling of being in bed and just snuggling back in when your alarm goes off. It’s crucial that you fully wake up to feed your baby as you could fall asleep with them under the duvet - God forbid. You need to stay focused! Sometimes undressing ever so slightly or pulling the duvet off can be a good way to stay awake if you’re slightly chilly you’re more likely to stay awake. 

Stay hydrated - Before bed, I use an Arbonne water bottle - http://www.arbonne.com/PWS/OliviaAmes/store/AMUK/product/Water-Bottle-UK-2045,2225.aspx - because it is PERFECT for this. It has a wide neck which means you can fill the bottle to the top with ice and screw the lid on. This means that as the ice gradually melts, every time you wake up you have cold, fresh water. Nothing worse than either forgetting to bring a drink to bed completely, or waking up in the middle of the night and the only water you have is luke warm. 

Bedtime

Take off all make-up - if you have gotten around to wearing make-up in the day, definitely remember to take it off at night! There is nothing worse than crusty eyelashes in the morning after not having taken your make-up off. It’s also really bad for your pores/skin to leave make-up on so the last thing you need on top of post-partum healing is bad skin. I don’t know about you but nothing makes me feel more ready for bed than putting on fresh Pjs and taking my make-up off. 

Don’t use your phone before bed - O.K. O.K. I know this is easier said than done as we are all glued to our phone but reducing screen time before bed allows your mind to relax and you’ll find it easier to fall asleep. The last thing you need is your brain still ticking over when you’re trying to get as much sleep as you can before the baby wakes up for its next feed.

Go to bed when the baby does - I worried so much about spending time with my partner to make sure we still had a healthy relationship, that I would stay up in the evenings when the baby was sleeping. I soon realised this was stupid because it was valuable time I could be sleeping. I breastfed so the feeds were all really down to me. Luke was still working 9-6 so I couldn’t expect him to help me with night feeds. What worked really well for us was catching up about 10pm. I would go to bed about 7/8pm when the baby did, and manage to get a few hours sleep, which just felt like a nap. I would then wake up to feed the baby and it was the same time he was going to bed. So we would watch an episode of something together and chat for a bit around 10pm and then we still got to fall asleep together like a normal couple. I think the most important thing to remember is these sleepless nights won’t last forever, the first few months are rough but the baby soon settles and/or you get used to sleepless nights and don’t know any different. In the newborn days its all about survival. Do what you need to do to survive! Everyone will soon forgive you if you ignore or don’t have time for them - even if it is just to sleep - you just need to survive.