My kids sleep through the night now but I am well acquainted with sleep deprivation, as none of them slept for the first year of their lives. During those long, exhausting days, it always surprised me just how tired one person could be – and yet still keep functioning. I might have resembled a zombie with mush for a brain, but somehow I kept putting one foot in front of the other, getting through each day without falling asleep on the toilet. Incredible.
What I found helped me stay upright during those tiring days was the addition of small, positive activities each day that served to brighten my mood, and keep my brain stimulated, which in turn made me feel like I’d had at least four hours sleep overnight, instead of the broken three I was accustomed to.
If you’re currently in the throes of sleep deprivation, I feel your pain. Why not try something from this list to help you feel fresh-faced and functioning? They might not replace the sleep you’ve missed out on, but they might be enough to keep you above water on those really tough days.
1. Try a brisk walk
A walk in the fresh air might not sound very exciting, but the physical movement, together with being out and about in the real world will energise and refresh you. You can up the ante with this one and go via your favourite cafe to pick up a take-away latte for an extra boost. Maybe some window-shopping could sweeten the deal?
2. Phone a friend
The last thing you might feel up to is talking with someone and trying to follow a conversation, but phone the right person and you just might find the convo is enough to lift you out of your funk and get your brain ticking again. Connecting with real people and taking part in a two-way conversation can be a game-changer when it comes to energy. Plus, they might have something very interesting to tell you that takes your mind off how many times your baby woke up the previous night.
3. Keep it nutritious
Whatever you do, make sure you keep eating right, as this is not the time in your life to be skipping meals and letting your body run on empty. Try to keep a stock of healthy foods to snack on throughout the day, so you never go too long between meals without eating. This will make sure you always have something in your tank, so despite missing out on sleep, your body will still be fueled enough to keep functioning.
4. Give yourself a home facial
Next time your bub is napping, or happy in a bouncy chair, get out all your beauty products and give yourself a facial, taking the time to cleanse, exfoliate and even use a mask if you have one. Don’t have any products? No matter, you can whip up your own homemade facial mask using just a few ingredients from your pantry that will do just as good a job. Feeling brighter in your complexion will trick you into thinking that lack of sleep isn’t so painful after all, and this is what will get you all the way to bedtime.
5. Dig out your makeup bag
I know, I KNOW. Putting on makeup when you’re looking after a baby around the clock and getting zero sleep is the absolute last thing you want to be bothering with. But you might surprise yourself at how much better you feel once you pop some concealer under your eyes and some blush on your cheeks, both of which can take away that zombie look and make you feel like you’re half alive. You might even feel a bit like the person you were before your bub came along, if make-up used to be a regular thing with you.
6. Music and groove
I don’t know about you, but having daytime TV on in the background while I dragged myself through the day just made me feel more tired. To this day, I can’t watch talk shows or morning infomercials without nodding off. Music on the other hand, can be a real energiser. Put on whatever floats your boat – classic eighties tunes you can dance to, the latest R&B to keep things groovy, even some power ballads can put a kick in your step if they get you tapping your feet and singing along.