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 (or many stages) in their baby bear's young life. You know, where they want to party all night long (and you are taken along for the sleep-deprived ride).
I'm the first to admit that I don't do well with lack of sleep and after sleepless nights I struggle at times. Sleep deprivation has a negative impact on mood, cognition, mental health, alertness, it can weaken the immune system, contributes to weight gain, and is just not fun for anyone. Now I know the only really cure for sleep deprivation is sleep but here are a couple of tips that help me survive after those sleepless nights.
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 up, got outside for a brisk walk, 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. Magnesium is involved in a whole lotta important processes in the body (over 300!) and many people are deficient.
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 first 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! Spending time outside is incredibly important for us and can have a really nice impact on our mood, our immunity, and our energy levels. Often, changing our environment is also a nice way to reset our mindset and our mood too.
Mind Over Matter
OK so I have a background in Psychology so no blog post is going to be complete without some mention of the power of the mind! Research has found that telling yourself you have had a good night's 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 of them work by balancing and supporting the stress response (yes lack of sleep causes increased stress). My favourite herbal helpers would have to be Rhodiola, Withania and Licorice. They are like a big herbal hug in a bottle!
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 nourishing food, or a nice little ritual at home like making one of my delicious Ritual 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 entertaining Netflix shows. There's no time for mind-expanding documentaries when I am feeling tired and that is ok!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 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, have a look here.