Do you ever get to the end of the day and feel totally and utterly frazzled? Like your brain is outside your head and you’re holding it trying to stop parts of it from falling through your hands and disappearing into an abyss of unknown forgetfulness. Well, that’s exactly how I feel right now! It has just been one of those days. And I’m sure it all started because I felt like I could have pretty much done the whole night again when I got up!
Sleep…overrated?! Huh?! As a new parent, I’m sure you’ll get what I mean. The other day I saw this advert, sighed and thought “well, that’s it for me then!!!”
Why is sleep so important? Lack of sleep doesn’t just make us grumpy or forgetful. It can affect our physical and emotional wellbeing as well. Who, like me, is so much tearier when they are tired? Who, again like me, becomes the most clumsy person ever when they have not had enough sleep? Our brains start to feel foggy and we find it hard to make decisions. Nowadays, it has become so much easier to study the brain and the way it responds to various factors. Lack of sleep has shown that there is an effect on our prefrontal cortex (our rational brain) and our emotional brain becomes heightened. Naturally, this can lead to more irrational behaviours.
Babies need a lot of sleep as part of their natural growth. During sleep, the brain consolidates what it has learnt during the day and stores memories. This is the same for adults. When we sleep the brain processes information and therefore lack of sleep can impact our short and long term memories.
Our hunger hormone is also produced in greater quantities when we are sleep deprived, so that is why we often feel hungrier when we are tired. I don’t know about you, but this isn’t making me feel any better!! So, why am I writing this today?! Two reasons; firstly, to encourage you, as new parents, that you are not losing your marbles, that these early days are just a phase and you will sleep again! These symptoms can be rectified if sleep is restored and the occasional bad night will not have a lasting impact (although it may affect you for the following few days). Secondly, and this includes me, to take opportunities to rest. I’m sure you’ve heard “sleep when the baby sleeps” and I’m sure you’ve thought “but when the baby sleeps is when I get anything done”. That anything might be as simple as take a shower, or as silly as sewing the Frozen dress you promised your five-year-old for Christmas. I only too often say, “I haven’t got time to nap”. However, when Poppi was little I discovered a revolutionary way of napping (thanks to Daf). We all sleep in sleep cycles. One of these cycles can be as short as 20 minutes. I remember once napping for about 2 hours and then taking longer than that to recover as I felt so groggy. A 20-minute nap isn’t usually enough for me to fall asleep but it is long enough for me to close my eyes and for my body to relax a bit and plus, there is still then time for a quick shower. When time is of the essence, but staying less frazzled is helpful it might be worth giving it a shot.
Beauty sleep is a real thing – but not only for outward physical beauty. Our beautiful minds and internal functioning body needs its beauty sleep too. There’s so much more I could say, but I don’t want to send you to sleep. Let me know in the comments below if you’d like some sleep techniques!