sleeping kids

I’m not a doctor but I sure am (sadly) an expert on sleep deprivation. Give or take 4 flipping whole years of it. Don’t be fooled by the picture above, they nodded off together but were soon moved to their own beds and both woke up at least twice that night. Le yawn!

…My 4 year old, Oliver has suffered from acute glue ear since he was 15 months old making him at the time anyway, the youngest child in Yorkshire to have grommets put in at 22 months.

Although he’s a lot better now (particularly over the last 6 months) with only the odd infection, his sleep routine has always been interrupted by horrendous ear related episodes over the years. Bless him. Thank goodness for King Size beds eh!

Now baby Alexander started off great (in fact we had the best sleep of our lives when he was born with both kids sleeping soundly, who knew?) but then the dastardly teething begun (waking up his brother with his cries in the next door room a lot) and it’s been far too long since I’ve had a full 8 hours. Heck even a full 6. Yuck.

I’m def keeping Max Factor Pan Stick in business. Best. Concealer. In. The. World. Make that the universe. They need concealer at Nasa don’t they?!

Red lipstick (Mac’s Lady Danger) is a fave too, it never fails to wake up my face!

My husband and I share the nights and although there are some truly bad times (where one kid is ill before the next starts), on the whole we generally feel A-OK.

I mean people are amazed by our energy levels and although sleep deprivation’s a nightmare (oh the irony) these busters below are definite miracle workers…

Diet:

90% of the time we eat low-GI slow releasing feel-good food that balances blood sugar, regulates mood and makes us feel good.

My own diet is low carb (not no carb just no refined carbs so most meals are protein filled, veg and fruit heavy with sides of pulses, lentils and spelt bread) and good fats.

Hello olive oil, avocados and coconut- everything.

Generally follow the clean, lean and green way of eating. Seasonal and organic if poss for extra virtuous brownie points.

10% of the time go enjoy something naughty like actual brownies. And relish every bite. Simples.

Peter is a pescatarian so is health personified. Literally. Although he does love the odd Krispy Kreme. Who doesn’t huh?!

Seriously though, lack of sleep can make you feel irritable, depressed and moody so let food help you.

Sleep deprivation means you want to reach for the sugar but sweet highs mean crashing lows, made worse when tired so try not to go there, most of the time!

Exercise

No I’m not crazy.You’re tired, the last thing you want to do is work-out right but even gentle exercise will make you feel better, I promise.

I love a brisk walk with the buggy, so try get outside when you can and breathe in some fresh air.

It will wake you up and release those endorphin bad-boys, making you smile and feel alive!

I also find pounding the treadmill, however tired, makes me feel amazing afterwards.

Failing that, a dance around the living room with babes never fails to entertain, you and them! Laughter sure is this family’s favourite happy-making medicine!

Vitamins

So my doctor recommended these vits to help with sleep deprivation, mood and PMT.

Ask yours for their recommendations as these will vary from person to person and whether you’re pregnant or breastfeeding.

Don’t take the below with a mult-vit either as you could take too much of everything.

What I take:

Vitamin D3 (25ug) Because we don’t live in LA (not you, you LA-dwelling lucky readers)…apparently we’re ALL sunshine deprived so these little beauties are lovely rays in a bottle. They sure brighten up my day!

Vitamin B6 (100mg)  is a miracle vitamin with studies heralding these as helping to regulate hormones, reduce tiredness and fatigue and normalise metabolism.

Take no more than 100mg as high doses of vitamin B6 can, over time, be dangerous, and might well result in nerve damage or numbness that may eventually be irreversible. Love these.

Magnesium (250mg) contributes to the maintenance of normal bones and teeth and also the reduction of tiredness and fatigue and is on my must-take each morning list.

Zinc (15mg) assists with fertility, skin, hair, nails and immunity. Clever little vits.

Vitamin A with fish liver oils (8,000 I.U) are a recent addition.

Got bad skin with the lack of zzzz’s? This tiny capsule helps make me look 16 again after rough nights (OK let’s make a that a more realistic 28 according to a random passenger age-guessing me travelling from Leeds to London last week).

Vitamin A boosts immunity, iron metabolism and helps with maintenance of normal skin and vision, plus the ones I buy from Holland & Barrett, don’t even taste fishy!

Calcium (500mg) contributes to the maintenance of normal bones and muscle function and in recent studies has shown signs of helping with PMS.

I do take iron too around that dreaded time of the month and Vit C (500 mg) for a few weeks in the winter.

The above definitely help me feel like I’ve slept 10 hours when it might well be 5 (or less *shudders). Brilliant for PMS too. Swear by them all.

Disco naps

Naps. Sleep when your baby/ kid sleeps. Cleaning, facebook and that blog post can wait. Go. To. Sleep.

Same goes for switching off (phones, laptops) especially before bedtime or nap time as research shows it’s harder to get to the land of nod if you don’t turn off the electronics!

Trash TV

The Real Housewives of Orange County/ The Kardashians…

…Or anything that will make you laugh, escape your sleep deprived reality and help you realise your problems aren’t quite as bad as those crazy-rich ladies. You might have serious wardrobe envy though. You’ve been warned. Weep.

Zen it Out

Yoga, pilates, accupuncture, meditation. Any of these will help replace actual sleep and encourage it when you’ve indirectly, thanks to the kids, developed a rubbish sleep pattern for yourself. And ummmmm.

Ask for help
Share nights with your partner where possible (real experts advice 2 nights on, 2 nights off for your each so your body recovers) and if siblings, grandparents, friends you trust, offer to give you guys a night off, accept, accept, accept.

So what are your tips?

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24 Responses

  1. suzanne3childrenandit

    Sleep deprivation is the one thing that would put me off EVER having another baby! A great list of recommendations here, I’m a huge fan of Pilates – if I miss a week, I really know about it.

    Reply
    • honestmum

      @Suzanne3childrenandit Thanks but you’ve done well with 3! Must try pilates again..been years!
      honestmum recently posted…Tasty Tuesdays: Pan-Fried Scallops with Chilli and GingerMy Profile

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  2. Actually Mummy

    This is a really great list! I’m a firm believer in zinc too. Although I can’t claim to have coped with sleep deprivation – I merely survived it, and I’m sure everyone in my life felt the same around me a the time!
    Actually Mummy recently posted…Weather in Florida: Wot so Funee?My Profile

    Reply
    • honestmum

      @Actually Mummy yes, patience is tried on little sleep isn’t it! Agree zinc is amazing, B6 and Vit D life savers!
      honestmum recently posted…Tasty Tuesdays: Pan-Fried Scallops with Chilli and GingerMy Profile

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  3. Jen aka The Mad House

    Great post, all I would add is sunlight. I find that getting out side and some sunlight really helps me. If I can not do that then 30 minutes with my SAD lamp is a godsend. Oh and the pictures are Saltburn (where we live)!
    Jen aka The Mad House recently posted…Blowing away the cobwebsMy Profile

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  4. Katie / Pouting In Heels

    I bow down to you for this post! Thank you so much for sharing.

    Like every other truly knackered parent, sleep deprivation is far too common in our household. In fact, it is the norm. 🙁 *le sigh*

    Elsie slept brilliantly until she was 8 months old, I’m not kidding from 6 weeks, she slept soundly for 10-12hours through the night. Every night. Alas since then it has been a total and utter nightmare. I’m just happy if I get more than a couple hours of uninterrupted sleep these days!

    I wish I could provide your readers with any further tips but I can’t. All I can say is, weirdly you kinda get used to it and that when things are really tough, I console myself with the fact that when she is a teenager, I’ll get my lie ins back and will be probably have to drag her out of bed 🙂

    x

    P.S Love the vitamin advice! Have taken notes! x
    Katie / Pouting In Heels recently posted…YOUR SECRETS: Emma’s story ‘My chronic pain will not stop me being happy’My Profile

    Reply
    • honestmum

      @Katie thanks darling, it is tough right now for us isn’t it. Alexander was a pretty good sleeper to start too although never 10-12 hours straight and then teething/colds etc started and it was all down hill…roll on the teenage years (I think!) x
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  5. Aimee

    I feel your pain, and agree even 6 hours solid would be amazing.
    Aimee recently posted…When there’s no space.My Profile

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  6. Mummy Plum

    Great post! Neither of mine have been great sleepers so I feel your pain on the sleep deprivation front. I was very interested to read all your vitamin suggestions. I think I could do with some of those. As for my coping strategies, clean blowdried hair and a made up face help and I completely agree with you re: fresh air. I have also been known to indulge in a sneaky internet purchase now and again as a way of compensation!

    Reply
    • honestmum

      @Mummy Plum oh I’m with you there, love a big blow dry and a lick of lipstick (I favour Lady Danger’s red by Mac) and black mascara sure brightens up a tired face!
      honestmum recently posted…Urgh Sleep Deprivation & Things That Help MeMy Profile

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  7. Notmyyearoff

    I really could do with some b6 supplements I think. That and vitamin D. I think they’re both so crucial to a persons energy and well being aren’t they?
    Notmyyearoff recently posted…Doing Things A Bit WrongMy Profile

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  8. Alexandra Mercer

    Some fantastic tips for sleep deprived parents out there. I simply cannot function whatsoever with sleep deprivation!
    Alexandra Mercer recently posted…One of my favourite authors – Brandon SandersonMy Profile

    Reply
    • honestmum

      @Alexandra Mercer thanks so much, it’s horrible isn’t it! These things really help me though!
      honestmum recently posted…Urgh Sleep Deprivation & Things That Help MeMy Profile

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  9. kellyjmarsden

    Great list above – I’d also add listening to music – music has a great way of lifting the mood in our whole household and if i’m tired, it motivates me to just get on with it.

    Reply
    • honestmum

      @Kelly thank you, yes music and dancing around the living room key in helping to keep us awake and happy!
      honestmum recently posted…Urgh Sleep Deprivation & Things That Help MeMy Profile

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  10. Abby Boid

    most marvellous advice. Diet is key….but the hardest for me. Three pm most days I can be found gorging on bread, butter, cheese and tea full of sugar. I never have sugar in my tea any other time. BIG mistake. I kicked the coffee habit while pregnant. But the tea habit I will never say Ta Ta to.
    Abby Boid recently posted…A very boring post that I really would not bother readingMy Profile

    Reply
    • honestmum

      @Abby thanks for that, sugar hates me so although I eat a lot of fruit, I try where possible to stay away from it (most of the time at least). Caffeine again is not great for keeping blood sugars stable so can make you feel worse despite helping you stay awake!
      honestmum recently posted…Urgh Sleep Deprivation & Things That Help MeMy Profile

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    • honestmum

      @Franki really are amazing, started taking them religiously and seen such a difference, especially B6!
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