As I am writing this post, I'm a little weary eyed. We had one of 'those nights' which every parent experiences at some stage in their baby bear's young life where they want to party all night long (and you are taken along for the sleep deprived ride). There was lots of cuddles and kisses and hiding from bears and just not much sleep.
I'm the first to admit that I don't do well with lack of sleep and during the first few sleepless months of cub's life I struggled at times. Being pregnant with my second whilst wrangling a toddler has lead to even more intense levels of tiredness. Sleep deprivation has a negative impact on mood, cognition, mental health, alertness, can weaken the immune system, contributes to weight gain and is just no fun to experience! Now I know the only really cure for sleep deprivation is sleep but here are a couple of tips that helped me through those sleepless nights (and still does when we have nights like last night!).
This may seem counterintuitive, but exercising is a great way to counter the effects of sleep deprivation. Now of course I'm not suggesting that you go and run a marathon but a brisk walk out in the sunshine or some restorative yoga can do wonders for your energy. Going back to our experience last night, the last thing I felt like doing today was exercising but I got to the gym, did a class and now have enough energy and concentration to be writing this blog!!!
Take Some Magnesium
I love magnesium, it's a great "Mumma Mineral" and is a fantastic supplement for new Mumma and Pappa Bears to take to combat some of the effects of sleep deprivation. I usually prescribe it in a form that also contains some B vitamins as the combination works well for combating stress and boosting energy levels.
Sunshine and Fresh Air Can Do Wonders
I remember during those first few months I felt completely out of it at times and really didn't feel like leaving the house. Luckily though, my Baby Bear arrived in summer, so I was able to take her on long walks in the warm sun and fresh air which immediately made me feel more human! It does wonders for new Baby Bears as well, in terms of helping their circadian rhythms get in balance so they sleep better at night.
Mind Over Matter
OK so I have a background in Psychology so no blog post is going to be
completed without some mention of the power of the mind! Research has found that telling yourself you have had a good nights sleep can improve your performance on memory and cognitive tests! Now I understand that this may sound a little hard to believe but what we think has a huge impact on our we interpret our worlds. Try
this next time you are feeling tired and see if it makes a difference!
Herbal Medicine Can Help Too
We have some pretty amazing herbs in Western Herbal Medicine which can have a hugely significant impact on protecting against the effects of sleep deprivation. Many work by balancing and supporting the stress response (yes lack of sleep causes increased stress that many parents can attest to!). My favourites would have to be Rhodiola, Withania and Licorice and I find liquid herbal formulations work best for this.
Treat Yo Self!
This would have to be my favourite tip I think! If you are feeling tired and exhausted, be kind to yourself! For me, this usually involves treating myself with some delicious food (maybe taking myself out for brunch) or a nice little ritual at home like making one of my delicious Ritual Raw Cacao Blends. I let "to do" lists (and chores) wait until I have more energy and I practice positive self talk where I can. I also usually retreat to bed early (sometimes after a nice soak in the bath) and catch up on my fave mind numbing yet entertaining Netflix shows. There's no time for mind expanding documentaries when I am feeling tired.Now I hope those tips help you survive sleep deprivation. I'm off to get some sunshine and fresh air to counter the effects of my lack of sleep. If you have any questions or want to book in for a Naturopathic appointment to discuss how I can help support you, please get in touch here