How do new parents function without sleep? 

No Sleep

In the past, sleep deprivation has been used as a form of torture. I am not even joking. There are also warnings on most medication that make you drowsy. They warn us not to operate heavy machinery yet what do we do for new parents that are sleep deprived? Very little in my option.

It was one of those things I was most afraid about when I was pregnant and for a significant reason. I know that I don’t function very well after a later night. Never mind many, many late nights, early mornings and almost no sleep.

We also then need to feed, protect and look after the most important thing in the world while our body is at its weakest. It is just crazy in my opinion.

What happens to our body when we sleep?

Sleep is a very complex combination of rhythms. Each offering different benefits for the body and co ordinated in such a way that allows the body to rest. While resting the body can mend itself and rejuvenate. During deep sleep, your body will repair cells, organs and tissues. We also use this deep sleep to repair our immune systems. Because of these different rythems . The body will do different things at different times. It will slow the breathing and heart rate as you fall asleep but the quicken these actions as you reach rem. In general, a cooler bedroom is better for sleep. Our body will lower intemperature before bedtime, and drop throughout the night.

Have you ever jerked suddenly while falling asleep? Scientist call this a hypnogognic jerk. It apparently happens when your body takes a bit longer to switch off than it should. This can occur in times of high stress or exhaustion .

Sleep is vital and invaluable . As a new parent, great consideration should be placed on the lack of sleep and the plan to allow moms to rest. This may mean changing up your routine a bit and going to bed at 7 pm whilst dad takes control of baby till 12. Then visa versa. Or perhaps have a night nanny a couple of days a week.

It used to drive me mad when people said to sleep when your baby sleeps. My son didn’t sleep much. I remember days where he didn’t even have a nap during the day. I also remember getting sick quite often during this time. I now wonder if that was because of the lack of sleep and general rest I was getting.

Round 2 was a bit better, my daughter was a much better sleeper ( she also didn’t come home from the hospital with thrush) so that helped but now it was juggling 2 kids and again , the sleep was minimal.

My advice is; find the right system , routine and support that fits into your family unit. We are all different and cope with different things and situations. Ask for help and it will pass .

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