Babies always lead to sleep deprivation. Actually in our house right now children full stop lead to no sleep, well not enough anyway! If it’s not the baby who is up in the night it is the toddler. I’m convinced mine somehow have a rota set up saying who will be up when on which night!
You know those days when you wake up in a daze, put your cereal in your mug instead of your bowl, make a cold cup of tea and then put your dirty mug in the fridge? Or is that just me?! Sleep deprivation affects us all in different ways, I guess the big answer to it is to make sure you get enough sleep but that isn’t always possible with young children. I napped when I only had baby 1, but with 1 baby, 1 toddler and working too, naps are complete mystery to me. I find when I’m sleep deprived I snap more easily, I have less patience, my words get muddled up, I feel hungrier in the mornings, I don’t fancy cooking dinner and lose my creative cooking gene and I crave carbohydrates and sugar.
To get around some of these effects here are my top tips:
1. Always have a hearty breakfast. I have porridge in the winter with sultanas, seeds and fruit, or I make overnight oats or I make my own muesli which is often just grabbing my usual porridge combo and topping with yoghurt. Oats are low in glycaemic index to give you slow release energy and keep you full up, they are also packed with wholegrain goodness.
2. Keep the freezer well stocked with good dinners. Then those days you don’t have the energy to cook you won’t reach for the takeaway menu. I’m wheat intolerant and too much fat and preservatives also upset me, so takeaways upset me, my freezer is so often my superhero.
3. Make up a supply of healthy snacks that have some sweetness to them, we always have something in our tin – I like flapjacks with dried fruit. If I don’t have snacks made up I end up raiding the cupboards 😉
4. Do an online shop. It means you won’t end up buying foods you really shouldn’t buy and you can get it all delivered. I have memories of doing a large shop when so very tired with a small child melting down in the trolley. It’s really not that fun.
5. Treat yourself to something yummy, but healthy for lunch. For me that may be a tub of prawns, some hummous or some sushi.
6. Go out for a walk or find a way to fit some exercise into your day. Myself and the toddler often go to the park, the fresh air really helps us both.
7. Fit even a 10 minute lie down into your day. I set the toddler up with an activity at the point the baby needs a nap or if I’m really clever I get the toddler having her half hour afternoon reading time whilst the baby is napping.
8. Schedule in some “me” time. I’m ridiculously bad at this one as I’m always on the go. However I know a bath with the door firmly closed, a read of a book or quiet time on my own always leads to a better me.
9. Have a cup of tea. I have a slight tea obsession but limit myself to 2 cup of caffeinated and 2 cups of decaff a day. I literally love my loose leaf tea and have a large cup in the morning. Top tip: Check you have boiled the kettle before you make a cuppa or you will be very disappointed. Better still ask someone else to make you a cuppa in bed.
10. Stay hydrated. Tea is a wonderful thing, but water is even better and dehydration will make you feel worse. So keep a water bottle to hand and have a large drink of water with your meals.
I’d love to hear your tips – how do you cope?