How to Cope with Sleep Deprivation
Accept it, be grateful, and then DANCE! Yup, you read that right, my sleep tip for coping with sleep deprivation is to dance!
I spent a good chunk of time listening to Tony Robbins yesterday and came back feeling absolutely amazing. He said so many incredible things but I wanted to share something that I found to be so true about the first few years of motherhood and specifically sleep.
So here we go…
Most of us have programmed (our brains) to think about:
- The things that we don’t have.
- The things we cannot control.
The fascinating thing is that what you focus on is what you feel.
So let’s just get this out there – your baby is not sleeping. Your baby will likely continue to wake up even well into toddlerhood (all children, as long as they know that we will respond, are going to go through periods of more night fears, changes in their life where they will wake).
So you can count on night waking. It absolutely sucks, it’s exhausting; you are EXHAUSTED. 8 hours of sleep would be amazing – in fact, it would be life-changing BUT it is not happening right now.
Let’s accept it – YOUR BABY IS WAKING AND YOU ARE TIRED. Spend some time enjoying that thought. Focusing on that, join me when you are ready.
Time to Move On…
Alright, let’s shift the focus to something harder – gratitude. Write down 5 things that you DO HAVE. 5 little things that you are grateful for in this moment. I know you are still thinking about sleep, but let’s move on. You don’t have sleep, but what DO YOU HAVE? Write down those 5 things.
Now let’s remember that falling asleep is not within our conscious control. You cannot (unless you use separation), eliminate all night wakings in the next year, therefore it is not within your control.
So what CAN YOU control?
You can control what your child thinks about sleep (is it a pleasant place to go and a safe place to remain?) You can also control your state.
“We use outside world situations as an excuse to feel our primary emotions.” @tonyrobbins. If you are a worrier (I am a worrier), no matter what the situation, I will feel worried.
So when my babies didn’t sleep, I worried that I was harming their development somehow. I worried that I was failing them. If they were sleeping, I would have worried about something else.
What can we change?
So what we can change is worry, frustration, or anger. We do that by accepting the current situation for what it is, finding a way to feel grateful (if you are not doing a daily gratitude practice, I challenge you to write down those five things we talked about every day this week, it will change your life), then changing our state.
“All of your emotions are controlled by the emotional state you are in. If you change your state, you will change the follow-through.” If you wanted something as a child, you instinctively did this: buttered up your parents with big “I love you” and “you are the best” comments before asking for the car keys. You changed your parent’s state to impact the outcome of what you wanted.
How do we change our own state? MOVE YOUR BODY. Yup, that is right, MOVE YOUR BODY. Don’t take my word for it.
I have another piece of homework for you: download ten songs that make you want to scream at the top of your lungs and dance in your living room.
When you feel tired, frustrated, or worried, put on your music and MOVE YOUR BODY/Dance. This is within your control; you can control your state.
The solution for sleep deprivation with a new baby who is doing everything they should is to accept it, be grateful, and dance!
If you are looking to make changes around sleep, check out my Comprehensive Sleep and Feeding Courses.