You may have noticed that I have moaned about being tired quite a lot in the last year, yeah? Well, that’s what a new baby tends to do to you, but what happens when this continues?… Basically, you turn into a moody cow, amongst other things, because sleep deprivation is a bitch!
It’s been tough, I’m not gonna lie because I am not here to sugarcoat any parts of parenting. It’s funny because just recently I have noticed more and more bloggers apologising, mostly on Instastories, for being what they are labelling as ‘negative’. For starters, I don’t think that showing all sides of being a parent as being negative so I wouldn’t use this word. I would use the word realistic maybe instead? Secondly, it’s absolutely fine to moan or complain or whine or get upset because it just shows that we are all human and even more importantly, that we are all going through the same things. So, whether you have a rant down the phone to your sister, a cry on your friends shoulder over a coffee or you sit and write out a long winded ‘god, I am so utterly tired and it’s a bit shit right now’ Facebook post, go ahead and do it because it is the only way you are going to end up feeling better and the only way you are going to admit, accept and deal with your issues.
Ok, so with that statement out of the way I can now say what I want without sounding like I am being negative. I am being honest. Sleep deprivation has damn near killed me in the last 13 months and even though this has improved in the last week I know there are others of you going through the same thing and for longer AND I know that things could change in a flash and I could be back down that dazed and confused rabbit hole again this time next week.
So, how has the lack of sleep affected me?
I would have to say that the main areas that have been the toughest for me were my struggles to focus on everyday things (even stringing a sentence together!), I’ve not been able to plan ahead, my memory, my ability to be organised because I just haven’t felt positive enough to want to be my usual organised self, which has then also made my work suffer, I gave up my gym membership because I couldn’t keep up in class and felt worse for doing it and that my life basically felt as though it had turned into one huge groundhog day. I have been so drained, so low, very depressed some days and at my worst points, I have felt helpless, useless and in despair.
God, it sounds very dramatic when you start to write it all down and I still cannot believe that I have let it go on for over a year but when you don’t get the right amount of sleep you lose all track of days and months, you don’t actually realise that things have been so bad for so long and because you are so exhausted you don’t have the energy to make the changes that are required.
Sleep Deprivation is a Thing!
If you haven’t got your head down for the right amount of time for an extent of time you are sleep deprived and when you have it you completely get why it is used as a form of torture!!
“Your body needs sleep, just as it needs air and food to function at its best. During sleep, your body heals itself and restores its chemical balance. Your brain forges new connections and helps memory retention. Without enough sleep, your brain and body systems won’t function normally. It can also dramatically lower your quality of life. A review of 16 studies found that sleeping for less than 6 to 8 hours a night increases the risk of early death by about 12%.”
Scary facts, eh?! But even worse is what else it can do to you:
- Mood swings
- Impulsive behaviour
- Suicidal thoughts
- Weight gain
- Outbreaks of spots
- Bags under the eyes
- Dry skin
- Dehydration, especially if you rely on caffeine to keep going
- Muscle repair is reduced
- Brain function is slower
- Slower to react (hence why you shouldn’t drive tired)
- Poor balance
- Lowered immunity, so you are more prone to becoming ill
- Hormone production is reduced- this is very important if you have a sleep-deprived child as it will significantly affect their growth hormones.
- Increased risk of heart disease and strokes
- Memory issues
- Lack of compassion
- Don’t care attitude
- Easily frustrated
- Basically being a cow bag!!
I think I can most probably tick nearly all of these. How about you?
The NHS states:
“If you don’t get enough sleep, there’s only one way to compensate – getting more sleep.
It won’t happen with a single early night. If you’ve had months of restricted sleep, you’ll have built up a significant sleep debt, so expect the recovery to take several weeks.”
And if you have a baby that won’t let you sleep?… The above feels like the impossible doesn’t it?
This is why I hit my breaking point last week.
I sat and sobbed and sobbed because it hit me that I had given all that I could. I realised I had battled on, tried to be the headstrong woman I am for far too long and I hit rock bottom… hard!!
I guess when people say when you hit rock bottom the only way is up, are right. I had no choice but to make changes because living with sleep deprivation is the worst thing in the world and I just couldn’t carry on. But to make a change first you have to face up to it, you have to admit it and you need to talk about it.
I wanted to put all of this down in a post for a few reasons. 1, so I remember exactly how I have been feeling, 2, to show that you are not alone if you are sitting there nodding along to all of this, 3, to document how I am going to go from the low back to the high and 4, to continue to highlight how important sleep is for all of us because I think we are all far too tough on ourselves at times and we think that to achieve all we want in life we have to keep going and going and going whereas in fact, if we started to slow down, if we got the rest we needed, if we slept for 8 hours a night, we could probably achieve far more and be far more positive in doing it, don’t you think?
So, this is the start of change. This is the first week of getting my life back on track and helping my entire family to sleep again (yep, the baby has had a knock on effect!) And if you follow me on social media you will know that we began to tackle the sleep issues last weekend and so far (don’t jinx it, don’t jinx it) he has slept through every night since!!
Here’s to more sleep, please, please may it continue…
(please, William, please!)
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