Hello. My Name is Bee.
And I am a sleep deprived mom…
I am a single mom to a 20-month-old wild child and I am the definition of a sleep deprived mom. Very, very sleep deprived. She’s never been a good sleeper. So… z-z-z-z… …. …. what? Oh!!! I’m up, I’m up! (wiping drool off of keyboard)…
I know what it’s like to be sleep deprived. With my sleepless experience is going on 2 years in May, I know the struggles of counting midnight minutes (or hours) as you listen for signs of settling down only to have your expectations blown up in your face as you see them shaking the bed railing with frightful strength. I know the tear soaked pillow that muffles your quiet but steady sobs. I am so familiar with the breath holding technique as you tiptoe out of the room just to hear a soul-piercing scream coming from just beyond the door that you’re too scared to open back up, because you know, they are already up, already standing, and rattling the crib or throwing toys overboard, ready to be picked back up, rocked, and consoled. Again. And I know, all too well, the terrifying thought of, “Tomorrow is going to be a bat outta hell kind of a day!”
Today, we are on day three of 4-hour nights and it’s not pretty. Add her terrible napping into the mix and it’s a hot freakin’ mess!
So, if you’re anything like me and are one sleep deprived mom, know you’re not alone. We are in this together!!!
The Sleep Deprived Mom Get-Through-The-Day Solutions
For a sleep-deprived mom, the night is bad. But, the day can be a total nightmare!
Mentally prepare for the next day as you lay awake staring at the ceiling or rocking your little one back to sleep for the umpteenth time — plan ahead. That’s step one. I plan a low key day if I can help it. I know better than to plan for wins. My plan is a plan for survival, nothing more. There will be no cleaning today. No laundry. There will be diaper changes, food, and a whole lot of horizontal parenting.
As hard as it may seem, feed your mind the most positive thoughts and images possible. Think about the fact that this is just a phase and one day you’ll be telling their girlfriends or boyfriends about how big of a pain they were little. Think about every single thing that made you smile in the last few days. Think about how this may be the last time you rock and cradle your babe. It might be the last time you lay next to her shushing sweetly in her ear and stroking her hair.
Most importantly, remember you can do this! So when the day comes, you’re ready. The rest of the post will give you ammo for your plan to have a successful day, even as a sleep deprived mom.
Here are some of my tricks of the trade and solutions when it comes to this sleep deprived mom.
1. Cat Naps
I still have to work on this one. I think this works for some and not for others. Often times I wake up more tired than when I started. The waking up is never quite enough so most days I choose to avoid that. However, don’t shrug it off just yet (like I have to twist your arm to nap, right?). Science is big on this topic. A study at NASA on sleepy military pilots and astronauts found that a 40-minute nap improved performance by 34% and alertness 100%. Also, napping has psychological benefits. A nap can be a pleasant luxury, a mini-vacation. It can provide an easy way to get some relaxation and rejuvenation, according to the National Sleep Foundation.
2. Nurse a Coffee (or tea)
— Harvard medical School & Brigham and Women’s Hospital
This has been a habit of mine for years now. And apparently, there is something to this sipping my cup-o-joe all day long when it comes to a steadier and smoother energy boost. The research, by Harvard Medical School and Brigham and Women’s Hospital, shows that frequent/low dose caffeine beverages were far more effective than the few, larger caffeinated beverages.
I make my cup of coffee (or tea) in the morning and sip on it throughout the day. I dress my coffee up with a teaspoon of coconut oil and/or a drop of vanilla extract. My tea is usually plain or with a hint of honey. It’s especially nice on those sleepless days that follows a sleepless night.
3. Essential Oils to Combat the Sleep Deprived Mom Symptoms
Use these with your favorite electric diffuser…
Ginger essential oil. The web states that the spicy sweet aroma of ginger essential oil energizes the physical body especially when you’re low on sleep. I can’t tell you of any study out there as far as science is concerned but, I’ll tell you this — I feel it gives me an awake feeling of fresh and sharp aromas. It blends well with lime essential oil.
Whatever it is, it kind of brightens my heavy load days. I think it might be that it makes me think of candy 🙂
Rosemary essential oil. A woodsy favorite, rosemary is believed to be a promising aid in memory. I would have never thought to buy this EO on my own. You see, both of my grandmothers suffer from different dementia diseases and they’ve been through a lot. As a self-proclaimed natural girl, I was scouring the web one (sleepless) night for ‘unconventional’ remedies for Alzheimer’s and the like. One common denominator that I came across is, memory is boosted up to 75%. Now, while my journey here was sad, the other day, my grandmother renamed all of us kids (and their girlfriends and fiances (congratulations Alex — cousin got engaged a few days ago!)) without any mistakes! That’s a biggie! So, if you ask me, on days like the one you and I are currently having, a bit of a memory boost is a plus. I’ve been using this oil once or twice a week for about a month now. So far, I’d say I do feel more ‘together’. Rosemary is great mixed with mint, lime, and basil essential oils.
Lime & Grapefruit essential oil. I got lime oil for my home cleaning concoctions. It’s a wonder that cleaning made me feel so energetic and positive. Grapefruit was a part of my DIY Diaper Wipe lineup from day one. They are incredible energizers that help refresh the mind and aid in concentration. Now, I use both quite regularly in my diffuser. It’s clean, crisp, sharp scent will help align your day. Goes well with rosemary, mint, and basil.
French Basil essential oil. Basil is said to be a great aid in clearing your mind, mental fatigue diffuser, and stimulates adrenal glands to produce hormones like cortisol that is needed to help the body deal with stress. A good mix for lime, rosemary, and mint (spearmint).
Lemongrass essential oil. Handsome, and more importantly, smart, Dr. Axe stands by his love of lemongrass and I love him for it. There are tons of benefits. Two of them are so mom friendly you should run out and get some right after reading this post: boosts energy and helps relieve headaches. Did I mention Lemongrass is also a powerful stress reducer and sleep inducer? It’s so great, it’s begging to be diffused right this minute. Try mixing lemongrass with grapefruit and mint.
Studies show that chewing gum can help boost concentration? So, popping a stick of natural spearmint or peppermint gum is a great way to keep alert during the day until bedtime. Chewy Favorite: Simply Gum
Studies have concluded that meditation has a myriad of benefits for your health. In as little as 10 minute sessions, one can experience dramatic improvements on physical and mental levels.
No, I haven’t forgotten that I’m a mom talking to a bunch of moms. I know I am speaking of something seemingly impossible. But it’s far more attainable as you think! And the benefits? Oh, those are aplenty!
- Meditating with a Toddler? Yes, You Can!
- 10 Amazing Benefits of Mindfulness Backed by Science
- The Science Behind Meditation
Don’t forget to fill me in on how you do. Your experience will boost another’s confidence to give it a try, so, don’t forget to leave a comment following the post.
Somewhere between crying and coffee, you probably lost a lot of body fluids. I don’t really adhere to the 8 glasses a day rule. I like to go by my lips: soft lips = hydrated body; chapped lips = drink more water. Dehydration often makes you feel sluggish and drained.
We always got sweet fruit and crunchy veggies. I think apples and carrots are great energy food. Aside from their vitalizing nutrients, the crunch is a fantastic wake-me-up! There are tons of foods that can help you battle your sleep deprived mom self. Nuts, lean meats, fresh produce, fiber, and dark chocolate are an excellent way to boost your energy levels. Eat small portions or snacks often throughout the day and include smart carbs, leafy greens, and fish. Check out WebMD’s Energy Food Slideshow for more details.
Together, they explore the topics of gentle parenting, healthy eating, grateful thinking, yoga bending, nifty hacking, green living, soul searching, and mindfulness practicing.
She has lived many lives. She has seen great beauty and utter darkness. It makes her whole. She is strong and with your presence, support, and love right here, right now ever stronger!!!
Read more about her by visiting the Meet the Bee page or email her right now!
We hope you enjoy the adventures of Chewy & Bossy!