"People who say they sleep like a baby usually don't have one".
Leo J. Burke
We're back after a great week away. The 10 hour flight (18 hour total journey time) to the middle of Colorado went well and we were again impressed by the travel resilience of our one-year old. The return flight, as is usual when flying from the US back to the UK, was overnight and crossed a 7 hour time zone difference. My husband and I had been pretty confident that this return leg of the journey would be a breeze because our son would sleep the whole way. How wrong we were! Probably due to the fact he'd only had a 25 minute nap that day, he was overtired and we had a complete melt-down, something we've never experienced before with our generally chilled-out little guy. Anyway, we all survived but were exhausted and sleep-starved by the time we were back home mid-morning. We all had a good two-hour nap after lunch and then that night we had the luxury of a 12-hour night's sleep (just over 14 hours for our son)! That was the best night's sleep I have had in a long time and did us all the world of good.
It made me think back to those first couple of months of motherhood when a regular night's sleep isn't even an option. No matter how tired you are, there's just never that opportunity to have an extra-long sleep to catch up. Even napping when they nap, as everyone righty advises, doesn't help that much and is more difficult than it sounds.
Chris Lopez, dad to four girls, writes a blog for busy dads to help them keep a healthy active lifestyle. He wrote a post towards the end of last year, listing his tips for managing your energy levels during the tough time of sleepless nights. Whilst his site is aimed at dads, his tips apply to anyone and I think he has some good advice for anyone struggling to keep going on little sleep. His six tips are as follows:
- Stay on Schedule (even though every ounce of your being is telling you not to)
- Drink lots of water
- The 20-minute nap
- Avoid sugary foods
- Caffeine management
- Get outside
I have to agree with all of these but especially drinking lots of water and getting outside. Keeping hydrated is really important when your body's deprived of something (sleep in this case). Going out for some fresh air is something I feel like I'm always going on about but it simply makes you feel much better, both physically and mentally.
For any new mums or mums to children who still have sleep issues, these are helpful suggestions to hold you over until the stage when you can go back to enjoying a full uninterrupted night's sleep. It feels like you'll never get back to that stage but you will! I don't think you ever appreciate sleep as much as when you are a parent, it's a real luxury to me these days!
Do you have any other tips to add for surviving on very little sleep?