My Sleep Deficit Is Four Months - What's Yours?

"Mummy needs to sleep for a month."

We all laughed at my seven-year-old's suggestion.  A month of sleep to catch up on the hours I've lost since my newest sleep-thief was born, just over two years ago?  A whole month?!  Hilarious.

Though it turns out, she was onto something...

My husband grew quiet as he did some sums in his head.

"It's four months," he said, aghast.

"Huh?"


"Your sleep deficit is four months."

He's right.  We checked it over and over just to make sure, because at first it seemed completely unfathomable.

Since baby Zach was born, I've averaged around 4 hours of (broken) sleep each night...and when we compare that to the recommended 8 hours, across the last two years, I have missed out on a whopping four solid months of sleep.

That's equivalent to 121.6 days of continuous sleep.

The bags beneath my eyes were the only ones rejoicing when we learnt the cold hard facts: finally they felt validated.

Sleep deprivation is serious stuff and unfortunately, there is no easy 'fix' when we have the needs of tiny sleep-thieves to meet during night time hours.  Luckily though, there is relief, and its found in the simplest of ideas, which can all be summarized succinctly by the term "self-care".

The self-care tools that I return to time and again are things that feel accessible and easily achievable, such as:

Sunlight

Research shows that over a billion people worldwide are deficient in vitamin d, and with that deficiency comes a whole host of symptoms that affect mood and energy levels.  When we're already running on empty, it's time to prioritize our vitamin d levels and one sure way to optimise them is to get a little sunlight on our skin.  Natural light, even on a cloudy day, is a natural balm to exhaustion.

Hyrdation

Often, simple self-care steps -- such as drinking enough water -- can get deprioritized.  When I drink the recommended two liters of water each day, I notice that my head is clearer and I feel more energized and less run-down.


Getting Back to Nature

There are microbes in soil, which have been proven to activate the release of brain serotonin.  Serotonin is a neurotransmitter that boosts our immune systems and keeps us happy, and by simply touching soil with our bare hands or feet, we are stimulating the production of this feel-good chemical in our bodies.   

Exercise

Taking a walk and prioritizing a daily yoga practise (even with my toddler's accompaniment) are fundamental to my personal self-care toolkit.  Even ten minutes of toddler-clad-yoga resets my day and gives me a boost in energy that proves vital by the time 5pm rolls by...  

Pampering

Pampering needn't cost a small fortune via spa days and hotel stays...I love going back to my supply of Motherlove products when I need a little pick-me-up...I use their (mulit-purpose) nipple cream on my winter-dry skin and even return to my belly salve after an epsom soak, though I no longer have a baby bump to nourish.


In a nut shell, when our nightly 8 hours is lacking (aka non-existent), we have to raise our self-care game.

My sleep deficit is a whopping four months (and counting!)  What's yours?

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Because in the fog of exhaustion, solidarity is often our only saving grace.

You've got this, mama.

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