HOW TO COPE WITH SLEEP DEPRIVATION...
BY LAUREN HEFFERNAN
Accept it, be grateful and then DANCE!
Yup, you read that right, my sleep tip for coping with sleep deprivation is to dance!
I spent a good chunk of time listening to Tony Robbins recently and came back feeling absolutely amazing. He said so many incredible things but I wanted to share something that I found to be so true about the first few years of motherhood and specifically sleep. So here we go… Most of us are programmed (our brains) to think about 1. The things that we don’t have and 2. The things we cannot control. The interesting thing is that what you focus on is what you feel.
So let’s just get this out there – your baby is not sleeping. Your baby is up at night. Your baby will likely continue to wake up even well into toddlerhood (all children, as long as they know that we will respond, are going to go through periods of more night fears, changes in their life where they will wake). So you can count on night waking. It absolutely sucks, it is exhausting, you are EXHAUSTED, 8 hours of sleep would be amazing – in fact it would be life changing BUT it is not happening right now. Let’s accept it. YOUR BABY IS WAKING AND YOU ARE TIRED. Spend some time enjoying that thought, focusing on that thought and then when you are ready join me
Time to Move On…
Alright – let’s shift the focus to something harder – gratitude. Write down 5 things that you DO HAVE. 5 little things that you are grateful for in this moment. I know, I know, you are still thinking about sleep but let’s move on. You don’t have sleep, but what DO YOU HAVE – write down those 5 things.
Now let’s remember that falling asleep is not within our conscious control. You cannot (unless you use separation), eliminate all night wakings in the next year and therefore it is not within your control. So what CAN YOU control? You can control what your child thinks about sleep (is it a pleasant place to go and a safe place to remain?). You can also control your state.
“We use outside world situations as an excuse to feel our primary emotions.” @tonyrobbins. If you are a worrier (I am a worrier), no matter what the situation, I will feel worry. So when my babies didn’t sleep, I worried that I was harming their development somehow. I worried that I was failing them. If they were sleeping, I would have worried about something else.
What can we change?…
So what we can change is the worry, or the frustration, or the anger and we do that by accepting the current situation for what it is, finding a way to feel grateful (if you are not doing a daily gratitude practice, I challenge you to write down those five things we talked about every day this week, it will change your life), then changing our state. “All of your emotions are controlled by the emotional state you are in. If you change your state, you will change the follow-through.” If you wanted something as a child you instinctively did this – I am sure most of you buttered up your parents with big, I love you and you are the best comments before asking for the car keys. You changed your parent’s state to impact the outcome of what you wanted.
How do we change our own state? MOVE YOUR BODY. Yup, that is right, MOVE YOUR BODY. Don’t take my word for it – I have another piece of homework for you. Download ten songs that make you want to scream at the top of your lungs and dance in your living room. When you feel tired, or frustrated, or worried, put on your music and MOVE YOUR BODY/Dance. This is within your control, you can control your state.
So the solution for a sleepless year with a new baby who is doing everything they should – accept it, be grateful and dance!
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Lauren Heffernan is the Founder of Isla-Grace. She’s a certified Holistic Maternity & Child Sleep Consultant and Certified Sleep Educator. She provides information and support to women at different stages of motherhood, and walks each one through the personal journey to become a more confident mother. For more information you can visit her website or follow her on Instagram @islagracesleep