Home > Body > Health > Life > You > How To Handle Sleep Deprivation Like A Pro

It’s universally accepted that having a newborn baby has a catastrophic effect on your sleep, but what’s rarely mentioned is that the deficit starts building months before the kid actually arrives. Five months into the pregnancy, when you can’t nod off without the assistance of a giant passion-killing pillow wedged between you and your partner? And you have to get up to pee 172829 times a night? That’s what we’re talking about.

It doesn’t stop when they hit 12 weeks either (myth). Or when you wean them (giant myth). Or when you put them in their own bed (humongous mother of a myth; if anything this makes it worse). It’s inevitable. You will be tired.

But you’ll also have more patience than you ever thought possible, and it’s impossible to stay mad at a tiny human you made for very long, even if it is four a.m and they’ve woken up screaming blue murder because a sock fell off.

Our best advice is to embrace the madness. Here’s the TMC guide to handling sleep deprivation like a pro.

Tip 1

Nap Time

We’re not going to patronise you by telling you to ‘sleep when the baby sleeps’ but… yeah…that. So seriously, forget the housework. No one cares if your living room is untidy and you haven’t made the bed. Visitors gonna visit, but they can jolly well crack on with a bit of washing up while they do.

Tip 2

Change Your Mindset

Instead of thinking ‘I need to get eight hours a night to function’, start thinking in blocks of 24 hours. You might only get four hours of broken sleep one night, but you have the next day and the following night to catch up (see tip #1).

Tip 3

Tag Team

Rope in some outside help. Child-free friend, Grandma, the old lady across the street (she looks trustworthy enough). And if it really is just the two of you, write up a schedule that means you have regular, non-negotiable chunks of time to yourself (see tip #2).

Tip 4

Get a Routine

We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again; the routine will piss you off and then it will set you free. Bath, bottle and bed won’t rock anyone’s world but you’ll thank yourself three years later when your kid goes down at 6.30pm every night like solid gold clockwork and you can crack open the Pinot Grigio and have dinner in peace.

Tip 5

Stop Trying To Get Them To Sleep

There is nothing worse than being off-your-face exhausted and still the kid just WILL. NOT. NAP. As tempting as it is to spend hour after hour anxiously willing them to nod off, you should probably know that babies (like horses and Tinder dates) can smell your desperation. Reverse psychology is the best course of action, for them and for you. Put the TV on, go for a walk, play like your life depends on it. Pretend you couldn’t give a damn whether they napped of not and while we can’t guarantee they’ll go to sleep it might trick you into feeling better.

Tip 6

Go Out

We guarantee that however bad you feel now, you’ll feel a million times better after a shower and a walk around the park. If in doubt, get out. You can remember that one even when you haven’t slept in a week.

Tip 7

Lower Your Standards

You know what you need when you’ve had less than three hours sleep and you’re breastfeeding a ravenous baby? A biscuit. Seven biscuits. Whatever it takes to take the pressure off. If you don’t get dressed today and all you eat is a family-sized bar of Dairy Milk and a Dominos? Be kind to yourself; that’s okay. If your toddler has developed a chronic case of insomnia and you’re so tired you’ve started to hallucinate? Whack on four hours of Peppa Pig and feel no shame.

Based on what you love